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ling of rum during the barter for other goods, and until the Indians are about going away, it is perhaps all that is practicable or necessary. The missionaries will, among other things, endeavour to prevail with them to live soberly and avoid drunkenness.
39. The Indian trade, so far as credit is concerned, has hitherto been carried on wholly upon honour. They have among themselves no such things as prisons or confinements for debt. This article seems to imply, that an Indian may be compelled by law to pay a debt of fifty shillings or under. Our legal method of compulsion is by imprisonment: the Indians cannot and will not imprison one another; and if we attempt to imprison them, I apprehend it would be generally disliked by the nations, and occasion breaches. They have such high ideas of the value of personal liberty, and such slight ones of the value of personal property;* that they would think the disproportion monstrous between the liberty of a man, and a debt of a few shillings; and that it would be excessively inequitable and unjust, to take away the one for a default in payment of the other. It seems to me therefore best, to leave that matter on its present footing; the debts under fifty shillings as irrecoverable by law, as this article proposes for the debts above fifty shillings. Debts of honour are generally as well paid as other debts. Where no compulsion can be used, it is more disgraceful to be dishonest. If the trader thinks his risque greater in trusting any particular Indian, he will either not do it, or proportion his price to his risque.
For an account of the sentiments and manners of the Indians, see an essay by our author in a subsequent part of this volume. Editor.
44. As the goods for the Indian trade all come from England, and the peltry is chiefly brought to England; perhaps it will be best to lay the duty here, on the exportation of the one, and the importation of the other, to avoid meddling with the question, of the right to lay duties in America by parliament here.
If it is thought proper to carry the trading part of this plan into execution, would it not be well to try it first in a few posts, to which the present colony laws for regulating the Indian trade do not reach; that by experience its utility may be ascertained, or its defects discovered and amended, before it is made general, and those laws repealed to make way for it?-If the Indians find by experience, that they are better used in their trade at the posts, under these regulations, than at other places, may it not make them desirous of having the regulations extended to other places; and when extended, better satisfied with them upon reflection and comparison* ?
*The editor has given the following memorandum of Indian fighting men, inbabiting near the distant posts, in 1762; to indulge the curious in future times. The paper is in Dr. Franklin's hand-writing: but it must not be mistaken as containing a list of the whole of the nations enumerated, but only such part of them as lived near the places described. B. V.
A list of the number of fighting men of the different nations of Indians, through which I (George Croghan) passed, living at or near the several posts.
There is a nation, back of the Bay, who used formerly to come there to visit the French when they were in possession of that post, called La Sieu, computed to be 2500 fighting men; who have this summer sent word. to Mr. Gorrell, who commands there, that they purpose paying him a visit late this fall or in the spring.