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It is hardly necessary to add, that the hospitals of enemies should be unmolested—they ought to be assisted. It is for the interest of humanity in general, that the occasions of war and the inducements to it, should be diminished. If rapine be abolished, one of the encouragements to war is taken away; and peace therefore more likely to continue and be lasting.
The practice of robbing merchants on the high seas, a remnant of the ancient piracy, though it may be accidentally beneficial to particular persons, is far from being profitable to all engaged in it, or to the nation that authorises it. In the beginning of a war some rich ship's are surpised and taken. This encourages the first adventurers to fit out more armed vessels; and many others to do the same. But the enemy at the same time become more careful; arnv their merchant ships better,-and render them not so easy to be taken; they go also more under the protection of convoys Thus, while the privateers to take them are multiplied, the vessels subject to be taken, and the chances of profit, are diminished: so that many cruises are made, wherein the expenses overgo the gains; and, as is the case in other lotteries, though particulars have got prizes, the mass of adventurers are losers, the whole expence of fitting out all the privateers during a war being much greater than the whole amount of goods taken.
Then there is the national loss of all the labour of so many men during the time they have been employed in robbing; who, besides spend what they get in riot, drunkenness and debauchery; lose their habits of industry; are rarely fit for any sober business after a peace, and serve only to increase the number of highwaymen and house-breakers. Even the undertakers who have been fortunate, are, by sudden wealth, led into expensive living, the habit of which continues when the means of supporting it cease, and finally ruins them; a just puni hment for having wantonly and unfeelingly ruined many honest, innocent traders and their families, whose substance was employed in serving the common interest of mankind.
ON THE IMPRESS OF SEAMEN.
Notes copied from Dr. Franklin's writing in pencil in the margin of Judge Foster's celebrated argument in favour of the ImpressIng Of Seamen, (published in the folio edition of his works )
JUDGE FOSTER, p. 158. "Everyman." —The conclusion here from the whole to a part, does not seem to be good logic. If the alphabet should say, let us all fight for the defence of the whole; that is equal, and may therefore be just. But if they should say, let A, B, C, and D, go out and fight for us, while we stay at home and sleep in whole skins; that is not equal, and therefore cannot be just.
Ib. "Employ."—If you please. The word signifies engaging a man to work for me, by offering him such wages as are sufficient to induce him to prefer my service. This is very different from compelling him to work on such terms as I think proper.
lb. "This service and employment, &Q." — These are false facts. His employments and service are not the same—Under the merchant he goes in an unarmed vessel, not obliged to fight, but to transport merchandise. In the king's service he is obliged to fight, and to hazard all the dangers of battle. Sickness on board the king's ships is also more common and more mortal. The merchant's service too he can quit at the end of the voyage; not the king's. Also, the merchant's wages are much higher.
Ib. "I am very sensible, &Q."- —Here are two things put in comparison that are not comparable: viz. injury to seamen,'and inconvenience to trade. Inconvenience to the whole trade of a nation will not justify injustice to a single seaman. If the trade would suffer without his service, it is able and ought to be wiling to offer him such wages as may induce him to afford his services voluntarily.
Page 159. "Private mischief must be borne with patience, for preventing a national calamity."—Where is this maxim in law and good policy to be found? And how can thatr be a maxim which is not consistent with common sense? If the maxim had been, that private mischiefs, which prevent a national calamity, ought to be generously compensated by the nation, one might understand it: but that such private mischiefs are only to be borne with patience, is absurd!
Ib. "The expedient, &c. And, &c." (Paragraphs 2 and s)--. Twenty ineffectual or incon
convenient schemes will not justify one that is unjust.
Ib. "Upon the foot of, .&c."—Your reasoning, indeed, like a lie, stands but upon one foot; truth upon two.
Page 160. "Full wages."—Probably the same they had in the merchant's service.
Page 174. "I hardly admit, &c." (Paragraph 5.)—When this author speaks of impressing, page 158, he diminishes the horror of the practice as much as possible, by presenting to the mind one sailor only suffering hardship (as he tenderly calls it) in some particular cases only: and he places against this private mischief the inconvenience to the trade of the kingdom. But if, as he supposes is often the case, the sailor who is pressed, and obliged to serve for the defence of trade, at the rate of twenty-five shillings a month, could get three pounds fifteen shillings in the merchant's service, you take from him fifty shillings a month; and if you have a 1 CONOCO in your service, you rob this honest industrious part of society, and their poor families, of 250,0001. per month, or three millions a year, and at the same time oblige them to hazard their lives in fighting for the defence of your trade; to the defence of which all ought indeed to contribute (and sailors among the rest) in proportion to their profits by it; but this three millions is more than their share, if they did not pay with their persons; but when you force that, me- thinks you should excuse the other.
But it may be said, to give the king's seamen Hierchant's wages would cost the. nation too much,and call for more taxes. The question then will amount to this: whether it be just in a community, that the richer part should compel the poorer to fight in defence of them and their properties, for such wages as they think fit to allow, and punish them if they refuse? Our author tells us that it is "legal."" I have not law enough to dispute his authorities, but I cannot persuade myself that it is equitable. I will, however, own for the present, that it may be lawful when necessary; but then I contend that it may be used so as to produce the same good effects—the public security, without doing so much intolerable injustice as attends the impressing common seamen. In order to be better understood, I would premise two things; First, that voluntary seamen may be had for the service, if they were sufficiently paid. The proof is, that to serve in the same ship, and incur the same danger, you have no occasion to impress captains, lieutenants, second lieutenants, midshipmen, pursers,' nor many other officers, "Why, but that the profits of their places, or the emoluments expected, are sufficient inducements? The business then is, to find money, by impressing, sufficient to make the sailors all volunteers, as well as their officers; and this without any fresh burthen upon trade. The second of my premises is, that twenty-five shillings a month, with his share of salt beef, pork, and pease pudding, being found sufficient for the subsistence of a hard working seamen, it will