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nies, being commanded by his master to rob and murder a neighbour, or do any other immoral act, may refuse, and the magistrate will protect him in his refusal. The slavery, then, of a soldier is worse than that of a negro! A conscientious officer, if not restrained by the apprehension of its being imputed to another cause, may indeed resign rather than be employed in an unjust war; but the private men are slaves for life; and they are, perhaps, incapable of judging for themselves. We can only lament their fate, and still more that of a sailor, who is often dragged by force from his honest occupation, and compelled to imbrue his hands in perhaps innocent blood. But methinks it well behooves merchants (men more enlightened by their education, and perfectly free from any such force or obligation) to consider well of the justice of a war, before they voluntarily engage a gang of ruffians to attack their fellow-merchants of a neighbouring nation, to plunder them of their property, and perhaps ruin them and their families if they yield it, or to wound, maim, and murder them, if they endeavour to defend it. Yet these things are done by Christian merchants, whether a war be just or unjust; and it can hardly be just on both sides. They are done by English and American merchants, who nevertheless complain of private theft, and hang by dozens the thieves they have taught by their own example.
It is high time, for the sake of humanity, that a stop were put to this enormity. The United States of America, though better situated than any European nation to make profit by privateering (most of the trade of Europe with the West Indies passing before their doors), are, as far as in them lies, endeavouring to abolish the practice, by offering, in all their treaties with other powers, an article, engaging solemnly that, in case of future war, no privateer shall be commissioned on either side; and
that unarmed merchant ships on both sides shall pursue their voyages unmolested.* This will be a happy improvement of the law of nations. The humane and the just cannot but wish general success to the proposition.
With unchangeable esteem and affection,
*This offer having been accepted by the late king of Prussia, a treaty of amity and commerce was concluded between that monarch and the United States, containing the following hu. mane, philanthropic article, in the formation of which Dr. Franklin, as one of the American plenipotentiaries, was principally concerned, viz.,
ART. XXII. If war should arise between the two contracting parties, the merchants of either country then residing in the other shall be allowed to remain nine months to collect their debts and settle their affairs, and may depart freely, carrying off all their effects without molestation or hinderance; and all women and children, scholars of every faculty, cultivators of the earth, artisans, manufacturers, and fishermen, unarmed and inhabiting unfortified towns, villages, and places, and, in general, all others whose occupations are for the common subsistence and benefit of mankind, shall be allowed to continue their respective employments, and shall not be molested in their persons, nor shall their houses or goods be burned or otherwise destroyed, nor their fields wasted by the armed force of the enemy into whose power, by the events of war, they may happen to fall; but if anything is necessary to be taken from them for the use of such armed force, the same shall be paid for at a reasonable price. And all merchant and trading vessels employed in exchanging the products of different places, and thereby rendering the necessaries, conveniences, and comforts of human life more easy to be obtained, and more general, shall be allowed to pass free and unmolested: and neither of the contracting powers shall grant or issue any commission to any private armed vessels, empowering them to take or destroy such trading vessels or interrupt such commerce."
LETTER FROM ANTHONY AFTERWIT.
I am an honest tradesman, who never meant harm to anybody. My affairs went on smoothly while a bachelor; but of late I have met with some difficulties, of which I take the freedom to give you an account.
About the time I first addressed my present spouse, her father gave out in speeches that, if she married a man he liked, he would give with her two hundred pounds in cash on the day of marriage. He never said so much to me, it is true; but he always received me very kindly at his house, and openly countenanced my courtship. I formed several fine schemes what to do with this same two hundred pounds, and in some measure neglected my business on that account; but, unluckily, it came to pass, that, when the old gentleman saw I was pretty well engaged, and that the match was too far gone to be easily broke off, he, without any reason given, grew very angry, forbid me the house, and told his daughter that if she married me he would not give her a farthing. However (as he thought), we were not to be disappointed in that manner, but, having stole a wedding, I took her home to my house, where we were not quite in so poor a condition as the couple described in the Scotch song, who had
"Neither pot nor pan,
But four bare legs together,"
for I had a house tolerably well furnished for a poor man before. No thanks to Dad, who, I understand, was very much pleased with his politic manage
ment; and I have since learned that there are other old curmudgeons (so called) besides him, who have this trick to marry their daughters, and yet keep what they might well spare till they can keep it no longer. But this by way of digression; a word to the wise is enough.
I soon saw that with care and industry we might live tolerably easy and in credit with our neighbours; but my wife had a strong inclination to be a gentlewoman. In consequence of this, my oldfashioned looking-glass was one day broke, as she said, no one could tell which way. However, since we could not be without a glass in the room, "My dear," saith she, we may as well buy a large fashionable one, that Mr. Such-a-one has to sell. It will cost but little more than a common glass, and I will look much handsomer and more creditable." Accordingly, the glass was bought and hung against the wall; but in a week's time I was made sensible, by little and little, that the table was by no means suitable to such a glass; and, a more proper table being procured, some time after, my spouse, who was an excellent contriver, informed me where we might have very handsome chairs in the way; and thus, by degrees, I found all my old furniture stowed up in the garret, and everything below altered for the better.
Had we stopped here, it might have done well enough. But my wife being entertained with tea by the good woman she visited, we could do no less than the like when they visited us; so we got a teatable, with all its appurtenances of China and silver. Then my spouse unfortunately overworked herself in washing the house, so that we could do no longer without a maid. Besides this, it happened frequently that when I came home at one, the dinner was but just put in the pot, and my dear thought really it had been but eleven. At other times, when I came at the same hour, she wondered I would
stay so long, for dinner was ready about one, and had waited for me these two hours. These irregularities, occasioned by mistaking the time, convinced me that it was absolutely necessary to buy a clock, which my spouse observed was a great ornament to the room. And lastly, to my grief, she was troubled with some ailment or other, and nothing did her so much good as riding, and these hackney-horses were such wretched ugly creatures that—I bought a very fine pacing mare, which cost twenty pounds; and hereabouts affairs have stood for about a twelvemonth past.
I could see all along that this did not at all suit with my circumstances, but had not resolution enough to help it, till lately, receiving a very severe dun, which mentioned the next court, I began in earnest to project relief. Last Monday, my dear went over the river to see a relation and stay a fortnight, because she could not bear the heat of the town air. In the interim I have taken my turn to make alterations; namely, I have turned away the maid, bag and baggage (for what should we do with a maid, who, besides our boy, have none but ourselves?) I have sold the pacing mare, and bought a good milch-cow with three pounds of the money. I have disposed of the table, and put a good spinning-wheel in its place, which, methinks, looks very pretty; nine empty canisters I have stuffed with flax, and with some of the money of the tea-furniture I have bought a set of knitting-needles, for, to tell you the truth, I begin to want stockings. The fine clock I have transformed into an hourglass, by which I have gained a good round sum; and one of the pieces of the old looking-glass, squared and framed, supplies the place of the great one, which I have conveyed into a closet, where it may possibly remain some years. In short, the face of things is quite changed, and methinks you would smile to see my hourglass hanging in the place of the clock.