History of the Down Survey (Petty 1851)/1

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Dr. Petty's going to Ireland, 1652.

ILLIAM PETTY, Doctor in Physicke, whilst he was Professor of Anatomy in Oxford, and one of the readers of Gresham Colledge, was advised to goe into Ireland in the year 1652, when the war there was near ended, and many endeavours used to regulate, replant, and reduce that countrey to its former flourishing condition, as a place most wanting such contrivances as tended to the above-mentioned ends, and for which the said Dr had formerly gained some reputation in the world. Major-Generall Lambert, being at that time designed for the government of Ireland, and a favourer of ingeniouse and usefull arts, was pleased to entertaine the said Dr uppon that exspedition; but his Lordshipp being diverted, and Lieut.-Generall Ffleetwood appointed with Lieut.- General Fleetwood as Physician to the Army. to goe in his stead, the said Dr, having fixed his thoughts uppon that designe for Ireland, found acceptance with the Lord Ffleetwood alsoe, in the quality ot physician to the army, the said Lieut.-Generall's person, and family. The said Dr had not been landed two moneths, but, observing the vast and needless exspence of medicaments, and how the Apothecary-Generall of the army, with his three asistants, did not spend their time to the best advantage; did forthwith, to the content of all persons concerned, with the State's bare disbursement of about 120li, save them five hundred pounds per annum of their former charge, and furnished the army, hospitalls, garrisons, head quarters, &c., with medicaments, without the Success in his practice. least noise or trouble, reducing that afair to a state of easiness and plainness, which before was held a mistery, and the vexation of such as laboured to administer it well. Moreover, the said Dr in the practise of his owne faculty tooke such paines, in all that related to his said charge, that, in satisfaction of the four or five first yeares of his service, he offered to refund all he had received by way of salary, soe he might but receive the lowest usuall allowances in reward for the business he had actually performed in the way of his calling. There went alsoe into Ireland, at the same Mr. Worsly went over the same time, time, and on the same expedition, one Mr. Worsly, who, having been often frustrated as to his many severall great designes and undertakings in England, hoped to improve and repaire himselfe uppon a less knowing and more credulouse people. To this purpose he exchanged some dangerouse opinions in religion for others more merchantable in Ireland, and carries also some magnifieing glasses, through which he shewed, aux 'esprits mediocres, his skill in severall arts, soe as at length he got credit who gott to be Surveyor-General of Ireland. Observations on his way of admeasuring. to be imployed in managing the Geometrical Survey of Ireland, which he did in such manner as that,1st, there was paid for admeasurements twelve times pro ratâ more than ever was given before; and such rates as whereby a man, of a moneth's study, might earne neer 10li a day with his owne hands.2dly. The manner of admeasurement was such as noe man could examine whether it were well or ill performed.3dly. The said admeasurement, though bought at a dear rate and exactly administred, was, as to its end and use, but a meer vitiation of the countries estimate, which might be had for nothing, and noe ways correspondent to either of the ways of survey which the then law required.4thly. The manner of the admeasurers' payment was such, as by how much more paines they tooke, by soe much the less wages they had.5thly. For the administration thereof, there was neither due tryall of artists or instruments, neither good instructions before hand, nor examination afterwards. Besides, the bonds taken for performance were but the pictures of obligations, which, though they are notoriousely broken, he, the said Mr. Worsly, never knew how to sue.6thly, The knacke of paying only for measuring of the profitable land, and yet causing unprofitable to be admeasured (which the law, for unknowne reasons, required not), begat infinite jealousies and discontents in the army, soe that the only true art and excellency which this gentleman expressed in this whole business, was soe to frame committees of conceited, sciolous persons, intermixing some of credit and bulke amongst them, as whereby he might screene himselfe in case of miscarriage, and when things were ill-grounded at home, to put the finishing and upshot of them into the hands of others a great wayes off; ffor a short proof of all which, it is knowne, that all the geometrical surveys that ever passed through his hand have since been done over againe, by the conduct of others; and the charge of what he did, being many thousand pounds, became as meerly throwne away. The above-mentioned particulars are not alleadged here to disparage Mr. Worsly, of whom alone the Dr may hereafter write a discourse on purpose, and in another stile more suitable to such a matter; but really and bona fide what ever hath been hitherto said is but to shew How Dr Petty introduced himself into the surveying. the reason and introduction of Dr Petties undertaking the like geometricall surveys; for the said Dr having often admonished himself the said Mr Worsly of the above miscarriages in a very friendly manner, and recommended unto him exact artists, he soe far scorned the one as meer whimsies, and preferred meer bulks and outsides, such as would most flatter and admire him, on the other side; that the said Dr did thereby, and, by the said Mr Worsely's contemptious smiles verily believes, that those seeming miscarriages were not reall, but designes and elaborate contrivances for secret reasons of state, rather then the pitifull effects of pride and ignorance.