RICHARD HUTTON'S COMPLAINTS BOOK
1. [Inside front cover] 1717 Memorandum, March.
12 August, lent to Jonathan Burton, George Keith's Way Cast Up. (fn. 1)
16 August, and Bob Barclay's Apology
(fn. 2) lent to W. Wall.
Stephen Crisp's Works
(fn. 3) lent to Elizabeth Honnor.
Jacob Boehme's to Edward Durston.
Hospital at Hall in Germany
(fn. 4) to Benjamin Mason.
Stephen Crisp's 3 volumes of sermons to Joseph Clutton, apprentice.
2 April, John Jeffreys, Webster's On Bookkeeping. (fn. 5)
2. Loving friend John Heywood, I desire thee to take some care and
notice of little Charles Toovey that is in the workhouse, that he may not
do such work as spin mop yarn. I suppose thee knew his mother, Grace
France that lived in London, an acquaintance of my husband's and mine,
Joseph Chalk's wife's sister, of this town. I have a great respect for the
child, he lived with me many years. I shall be glad to hear from thee and
the child by the bearer. My dear love to the child. I rest with kind love to
thy loving friend,
Tuxbury 8 June 1719 &c.
3. [p. 1] From 29 September 1712 to 29 September 1716 the boys'
earnings, including the profits of the yarn, comes to £567 2s. 6¾d.; the
profit about £190 2s. 9d. . . .
4. [p. 2] Furmenty, milk pottage and pudding was made as followeth at
the time we came into the house, viz:
To make furmenty formerly was put 12 quarts of milk, 12d. [worth
of] wheat and 2½lb. of sugar.
Now, 15 quarts of milk, 12d. wheat and 2½lb. of sugar.
To make plum pudding was put 12 quarts of milk, 6lb. of suet, 4lb. of
Now we put 15 quarts of milk, 10lb. of suet, 10lb. of plums. So for the
advance of 3 quarts of milk we add 4lb. of suet & 6lb. of plums.
5. [An account of the finances of the house in 1716.]
6. [p. 3] Agreed with the baker that when the household bread is
appointed in the weekly bill to weigh 16 ounces avoirdupois, that he shall
take 8s. 6d. per hundredweight. And for every eight drams it alters in the
weekly bill he will rise or fall 3d. per hundredweight in price as the
12 ounces avoirdupois
|12 ounces 8 drams
|13 ounces 8 drams
|14 ounces 8 drams
|15 ounces 8 drams
|16 ounces 8 drams
|17 ounces 8 drams
|18 ounces 8 drams
|19 ounces 8 drams
|20 ounces 8 drams
|21 ounces 8 drams
|22 ounces 8 drams
|23 ounces 8 drams
|24 ounces 8 drams
|25 ounces 8 drams
7. [p. 4] To the committee, 11 May 1713.
Friends, some of the ancient friends being uneasy with the smallness of
their allowance in diet, I thought it my place to let you know what they are
now allowed, as also their allowance at the first settlement, by which you
may see whether there is any just cause of complaint. The first bill of fare
brought in may be seen at large . . . in the old minute book, page 28, (151)
where they are allowed 7 oz. of butter and 14 oz. of cheese per week, and
for every ounce more of butter to abate 2 oz. of cheese, 13 oz. of bread
per day, 6 oz. of flesh per meal, 9 oz. of pudding per meal and furmenty
&c a sufficient quantity.
And now by custom which continuance hath made a rule, they are
allowed each: 8 oz. of butter and 16 oz. of cheese per week, about 14 oz.
of bread (it not being weighed except Daniel Rosier's, who has 18 oz.)
per day, 8 oz. of flesh per meal & if not enough they are desired to send
for more, 19 oz. of pudding per meal, and more if they can eat it (which is
10 oz. per meal more than the former allowance), furmenty, milk &c a
sufficient quantity, to some a quart. So friends be pleased to take in
consideration some methods you think fit or a new bill of fare, the diet in
some respects being altered, that there may be no uneasiness in the family
or reflecting on the plentiful provisions of the house, either at home or
abroad; which has very lately been done, besides the . . . hard censures I
and my wife are under having the management under you.
8. [p. 5] Some of John Gorden's behaviour in the house.
Besides several faults too tedious to mention here, he lately pick[ed] one
boy's pocket of six pence and another of three pence and ran away and
spent it. And at another time he went to a neighbour's and told them he
had not victuals enough and desired trust for buns &c. He had then stole a
knife and fork from [a] boy and one of the house knives and sold them for
three half pence, which, when I knew, I sent for again, since we found a
knife in his pocket belonging to the house. At another time he got a
candle over night and got up about twelve a clock at night and took a pane
of glass out of the storeroom window and got in, from whence he took
about four pounds of plum pudding, although he, as well as the rest of the
big boys, had a full pound for dinner besides their suppers. And he ate so
much in the storeroom he could not come thence without leaving behind
him what is not fit here to mention. And about a week ago he privately
stole the key of the street door. Towards night we suspected him and
tasked him with it, but he confidently denied with such a countenance, as
if he had really been innocent, so that we searched diligently for it a great
while, but in vain which made us very uneasy. However, about 5 next
morning we went up where he lay and asked him about it again, but he
denied it. Then we made him come out of bed and found the key under
him. He intended, as he confessed, to have taken the knives out of the
drawers and to have sold them with the key. We have since kept him as
close as we can but he has been up, dressed in the middle of the night for
what intent we do not certainly know, for there is no believing him; so
that every day we are in danger of having things stole, and every night of
some misfortune or other [p. 6] for he said openly to the ostler, if any
body should fire . . . the hay in the stable he believed it would burn the
house or something to that purpose. And nobody knows but he may at
one time or another put such bad thoughts in practice. And if at any time
he is corrected for his faults, he cuts his truss and lets down his rupture, so
that we find him not only to be a very bad example to the rest of the
children, but indeed very unsafe to live in such a house as this is.
9. [A list of bills due to the workhouse, 7 December 1713.]
10. In order to settle the accounts in the ledger and then find the stock or
state of the house, as also the gain or loss in any one desired time:
1st Post the cash and expense book &c into the ledger to the day intended
to balance, and the linen book.
2d Procure the bills of all such debts as are owing to workmen for repairs,
the farrier for shoeing, for grazing, provisions, coals, wool &c or
whatsoever money is due from the house.
Also the total of all the debts due to the house whether for yarn,
spinning, mops &c or anything else.
3d Beginning at the first page in the ledger and proceeding to the last
page: charge. Charge each monthly meeting (in this house as pensioners)
with their quarterly allowances for their board and each tenant with their
quarterly payment of rent and give each servant credit on their account
for their quarterly wages.
4th Weigh all the yarn in the house, as also take an account of the mops
remaining unsold and find the weight of the wool unspun thus:
Add one part in four, but clean middle wool or good locks one part in
five, of the weight of all the yarn that is made of the wool that is spinning
at the time of balancing to the whole weight of the said yarn, and subtract
the sum from the weight of the wool first bought. The remainder is the
weight of the wool (as near as can be supposed) remaining in the house
unspun. Used mops to wear and tear.
[p. 7] 5th See what provision, malt &c, rests in the house.
6th Find what taxes is due on the house and tenements at the time of
7. Write out the horse bill for the meeting of twelve and all other horse
bills if any.
8. See what hay, corn, straw &c remains unspent and take the same of the
coals burnt since the last balancing from the coals then remaining in the
house. The remainder is the present stock in coals.
9. Write out the monthly meetings' bills and all bills due to the house of
10. Subtract the wear and tear of the brewing vessels to the time we
balance to, from the sum that hath been laid out on them to the said time
whether for prime cost, repair cost or improvements. The remainder is
the stock in brewing vessels.
And to find the loss by the wear of them in the time between the
balancing, take what sum is laid out on them in the said time from the
wear and tear of them in the same and the remainder is what's required.
11. Settle every account in the ledger and find both the stock and loss or
gain thereon, thus:
Add up the debtor side, then the creditor side. Charge whatsoever sum
is owing for that account (as particularly as bills due to workmen &c in
repairs, all money due for taxes in the account of taxes, all bills due to the
farrier, grass, hay, corn &c as also the ostler's board and wages in the
stable account [)]. Add the said debts to the sum of the debtor side and
proceed to add up the creditor side of the same account, and under the
sum charge all debts due to that account (as horse bills &c in the stable
account), as also whatever remains in the house (as yarn, wool and mops
in the wool account . . . and as hay and corn in the stable accounts . . . and
provision in the house expenses). Add the said stock to the sum of the
creditor side and compare the debtor side therewith by subtracting one
from the other. And if the debtor side appear to be more than the creditor
side the difference is the loss on that account, there having been more laid
out thereon than the income & stock will defray, but if the creditor side
exceed the debtor there is so much gained as the one is more than the
[p. 8] To make the account balance add the difference under the title of
profit and loss to that side as is wanting. So shall the account be finished as
And whatsoever sum or sums is charged as stock on the creditor side of
any account in order to the balancing, it must be transferred to the debtor
side of that account for the next quarter's stock, which sum or sums will
be the stock of the same account in the state of the house.
And whatsoever sum or sums is charged on the debtor side of any
account in order to balancing it must come on the creditor side of the
same account for the next quarter and will be what the stock or state of the
house must make good or pay and therefore be debtor. For excepting the
ostler's board and wages, which must be dropped as stock, he being
servant to the stable and receiving his wages from them, the stable should
be debtor to his service. Yet his service being employed in the said
account already balanced cannot be a stock for the time to come.
12. Upon a piece of waste paper or rather in the bill book, collect what's
due to all servants for wages to the time of balancing.
13. Also collect (in the said book) the rent due from each tenant into one
sum till the time of balancing.
14. To find the stock or state of the house:
Having things in such a readiness as is above directed, on a sheet of
paper write, stock debtor per contra creditor with the day of the month.
First, to give stock credit by the total of each bill due from the monthly
meetings and all other bills due from any persons for allowances with
collecting them by any method out of the ledger. Because . . . they stand
scattered throughout the said ledger, for which its advised to enter the
bills first. Then beginning at the letter A in the alphabet in the ledger,
proceed alphabetically to the letter Z and in whatsoever account there
appears anything remaining in or due to the house let the same be carried
to the creditor side of the stock.
And on the contrary, in whatsoever account there appears to be
anything due from the house, or that the house oweth . . . let the same be
carried to the debtor side of the stock.
Subtract the debtor side from the creditor; the remainder is the neat or
clear stock or state of the house.
[p. 9] 15. To find the profit and loss balance:
In the bill book collect the bare allowance (without anything paid for
necessaries) of each monthly meeting out of the bills and carry the sums of
each to the creditor side of the balance. Note: if the balance is for one
quarter, collect the bills for one quarter, but if the balance be for a longer
time collect the allowance for the same time. And always remember to
collect the allowances from the commencement of the balance to its
ending. Observe this method through all the accounts in balancing.
The reason whereof is because the income of any quarter &c is only
proper to compare with the expenses of the same quarter &c. In order to
find the gain or loss therein:
Collect all the rents contracted by the tenants between the balance into
one sum and carry the same to the debtor side of the balance.
Beginning at A in the alphabet in the ledger and proceeding to the Z, in
whatsoever account there appears to be any gains let the same (whether
for ¼ year, ½ year &c, or for what time we purpose to balance) be carried to
the creditor side of the balance.
And by whatsoever account there appears to be any loss, let the same
loss be carried to the debtor side of the balance.
Compare the sum of the debtor side of the balance with the sum of the
creditor side and find the total gain or loss.
So is the balance ended or finished.
11. [p. 10] As there is nothing does more universally commend a man to
any office or employment as to be a dextrous and ready penman and
accurate accomptant, so there is nothing can be more pleasing to the
ingenious or universally acceptable to mankind than to trace and chalk
out such a method as will infallibly help and assist them in attaining those
qualifications which are so useful and necessary, so much wished for and
desired by all ranks and degrees of men. Some few years after I had first
begun to teach school I observed frequent complaints of youth not being
able readily to apply to business what they learned at the writing school,
notwithstanding they were capable to write a pleasant fair hand in a copy
book after the master's copy. Now the main ground and reason of this
complaint I conceive chiefly to be, first of all because many youths . . .
have not sufficient time allowed them to acquire a natural freedom of
habit or writing before they go forth to prentice. Although they may have
learned a fair character, they learned at their writing school. Secondly,
the natural tendency of youth to sloth and idleness, a neglect of their
practise and a want of keeping up to the character they learned at writing
school. Thirdly, their not being employed at school to write other
business besides their copies. Now as the two first causes do many time
arise from themselves and those that dispose of them, so the latter may
some times proceed from their master or teacher. This put me on a design
of curing as well as I could this general complaint by employing some
scholars at night and other times to write without lines either the forms of
letters, acquittances, receipts or six or eight verses out of the Bible, or
some other book. Some times I made them write out my tradesman's
copy book, the forms of bills of sale, the methods of keeping a cash book
&c. Sometimes they copied out their sums and rules of arithmetic, which
method I found so successful that many scholars could write . . . without a
copy as well as with one; which experience drew from me the method here
presented you in this book, which has not failed of its desired success
where duly applied. I found it very helpful to such dull youths as had spent
a great deal of their time at the Latin school to so little purpose that they
know not how to write or spell English in any tolerable measure. It was
also of great use to the children of the poor ordinary tradesmen, whose
parents' [p. 11] poverty cannot spare so much money nor yet allow their
children to spend so many years at the grammar school as is necessary to
qualify them in that desired accomplishment of writing true English. I
find the poorer sort of people (I cannot learn how thus unhappily misled)
think if they can but send their children to the Latin school for two or
three years it will be a means to make them understand and write true
English; whereas it will require much more time than they can commonly
well allow them at the grammar school before their child can be
thoroughly capable to apply his grammatical learning in order to make
him such a writer of English as they intend.
By what is here offered in relation to the children of poor people, and
such whose capacities can never attain the Latin tongue, I would not be
presented as an enemy to Latin, which is a noble, useful and excellent
accomplishment. But it requires the assistance of an able purse, good
parts and sufficient time to go through the classical authors to be rendered
true grammarians. Now should none learn the Latin tongue but such as
had parts fit for it, and had the other qualities before mentioned to make
it truelly useful to them, our public schools would be found almost
sufficient to teach such youths the Latin and other . . . learned tongues,
and the greatest number of private school masters might find themselves
employment enough to teach the rest of our youths the true use and
knowledge of their own mother tongue. For . . . [then] the poor handicraft tradesman [could] be persuaded to keep their children wholly to the
English school till they could read pronounce and spell any word
distinctly, and understand the meaning of what they read (which will be
difficult to do without the use [of] English dictionaries) were this method
well observed. And that those I warn of private grammar schools
(especially in the out parts of the town [)], all of them pretending to teach
Latin, Greek and Hebrew, if the most of these learned gentlemen could
be prevailed with to teach nothing but English, and would take care to
learn their scholars to make good English exercise, which is altogether as
useful and necessary, and almost as difficult, as to make good Latin, the
poor would find it much more for their children's profit and advantage
than to murder three or four years time in the learning Latin to little or no
[p. 12] purpose.
And herein I appeal to thousands that miserably suffer by their
education for want of true knowledge of the English tongue. If the
parents design their children for the mechanic or handicraft they should
send them to the drawing schools (to spend some part of the day there for
three or four years) rather than to the Latin school; by which means the
kingdom would in a few years be furnished with the best artists and
workmen in the world.
The poor are generally very solicitous to give their children learning
and spare for no cost in their power to make them happy in that respect; it
being a common saying with them that learning is all the portion they can
give them, and a very good one too, if well directed. Which consideration
has, in great measure, drawn from me so large a preface.
We are very apt to cry up the French and other foreigners for writers;
and to do them justice many of them write well, natural and free; and so
may most in England too, if they'd pursue the same method, viz: by an
early considering which way to dispose of their children in the world. I
have been informed that if they design them for trade or clerkship in
France, Holland and other countries beyond sea, they rarely discontinue
them from the writing schools. Now after a youth comes once to a natural
habit of writing well, two or three hours in a week with a writing master
will both keep it up and improve it. For it is rare to find any so excellent as
those whose art grows up with their years by which it becomes natural
habit with them.
That so many amongst us can never be brought to write so dextrously
well, notwithstanding the art of writing was never at more perfection than
now, is because . . . as soon as children can make their letters and put
them together that their Latin master can just read their exercise, they are
commonly taken off from the writing school before any habit is acquired,
and then six or seven years or more is spent in a continual scribble of their
exercise. And the usual saying is, a quarter or two at the writing master's
just before they go apprentice will do the work, not considering that it is a
task much more difficult for any master to teach and break the ill habits,
than it is at first to teach. And then that which they formerly most slighted
is now most coveted and desired as being like to be of greatest use and
service to them in the whole course of their life. But by reason of ill
contracted habits [p. 13] cannot be so easily (if ever) attained to that
perfection which is desired. It is not to be denied but any that is a master
of writing, and understands to demonstrate the reason of letters, may
teach a lad of a competent genius, that never learned before, to write a
fair legible hand in a month or six weeks' time or less. But yet it requires
some considerable time to make that writing habitual, natural and free to
them; and indeed it is for want of that, and of constant practice, as we said
before, and care of keeping to the character after youths are taught, that
there are such frequent complaints they can do so little when they come
into the shop or counting house. Now to enable youths to write as readily
in the shop book as their copy book and to prepare them for business, I
could think of nothing proper for their excercise and practice at night
when they left school than the alphabet of names to make them ready in
great letters and spell any names, the contraction of words to dispatch
business, bills of parcel accompts taken out of the debt book, bills of
exchange, both foreign and domestic &c [and] forms of country chapman's letters . . . The frequent writing out of these and such like
sometimes for tasks, I found to be an excellent means to enable youths to
perform their business, and write things readily and freely of hand.
For after a youth has formed his hand at the writing school, if he would
write neat and free in a short time, he must write much and elsewhere
besides his copy book. And parents . . . [should] think their children . . .
[a] part of their care . . . [and] look better after them than many do, and
find them some business to employ them either in writing bills or copy
letters after they come home from school, and not suffer them to play
about streets and leave all to the child's master as if they had no interest or
concern in the matter.
In the whole, I have endeavoured to make the book as universally
practical as is possible in so short a compass; and though some things
relating to merchandise may be above the capacity of such teachers as are
ignorant of accompts, yet the greatest part of it is proper for the most
common and ordinary trades, and of great use to such as teach scholars
writing, arithmetic and accompts. Having had experience how defective
the most ingenious youths (many times) are in practical parts of business,
I have here given them the forms of several foreign invoices and accounts
of sales to instruct them as well in method as in casting up [p. 14] and
reducing the foreign coin to Sterling money. Lastly, as an appendix, I have
framed such questions in numeration, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division &c to the rule of three, that will very much assist youths
in the right understanding the rules aforesaid, which too many are
ignorant of even after they have run through all the rules in arithmetic.
That youth may not only have the forms of business in trade, but also a
fair copy to imitate after they go apprentice, I have engraved a book
called the Apprentices Companion, or, Tradesman's Copy Book,
wherein receipts, bills of parcels, bills of debts, bills of exchange,
accounts of sales, and the form of a cash book &c are all fairly written in
the merchant-like running hand now in use, designed for an assistance to
this book. Now if this book be carefully written and gone over two or
three times at the writing school it must necessarily set a lad a year
forward or more in the service of his master, by which it will be a great
pleasure to his master to have a servant so capable of his service. And
again, it will make the apprentice's business more delightful and pleasant
and his service more easy when he readily understands how to perform his
business and please his master. To render this book further useful with
the large addition now added, I will conclude with some short observations concerning the regular making and orderly ranking of figures, which
to perform nicely is esteemed a qualification almost equal to that of a
good hand. And since none of the ancient or modern school masters (that
I know of) have yet undertaken to instruct us in the English, French and
Italian method of ranking figures, I have adventured to offer some
thoughts about it. I observe there is now in use, two ways or orders of
ranking figures . . . One is the old way (heretofore generally used)
following the order of the Roman print, in which the figures are mostly set
upright as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, where you may observe that only 1, 2,
0, stands upon the line, except 6 and 8 whose heads are as much above the
top of 1, 2, 0, as the tails of 3, 4, 5, 7 & 9 are made to come below the line.
From whence may be derived this general rule viz: those figures which are
not lineal, i.e., of an equal height and depth in the order of the nine
figures, may yet by accident become lineal when they happen in conjunction together, as 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 8 & 6. The 6 in my opinion will not
properly become lineal with any of the figures except the 8, only as 86.
12. [p. 15: Blank in the original]