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killed for the table are scarcely fit to be eaten. To remedy this inconvenience, it will be necessary to divide their troughs into small compartments, in such a manner that each of them may be capable of containing water; but this is seldom or never done. On this account sheep and hogs are to be considered as the best fresh provision that one can have at sea; mutton there being in general very good, and pork excellent.
It may happen that some of the provisions and stores, which I have recommended, may become almost useless, by the care which the captain has taken to lay in a proper stock; but in such a case you may dispose of it to relieve the poor passengers, who, paying less for their passage, are stowed among the common sailors, and have no right to the captain's provisions, except such part of them as is used for feeding the crew.
These passengers are sometimes sick, melancholy, and dejected; and there are often women and children among them, neither of whom have any opportunity of procuring those things which I have mentioned, and of which, perhaps, they have the greatest need. By distributing amongst them a part of your superfluity, you may be of the greatest assistance to them. You may restore their health, save their lives, and in short render them happy; which always affords the liveliest sensation to a feeling mind.
The most disagreeable thing at sea is the cookery; for there is not, properly speaking, any professed cook on board. The worst sailor is generally chosen for that purpose, who for the most part is equally dirty. Hence comes the proverb used among the English sailors, that God sends meat, and the Devil sends cooks. Those, however, who have a better opinion of Providence, will think otherwise. Knowing that sea air,
and the exercise or motion, which they receive from the rolling of the ship, have a wonderful effect in whetting the appetite, they will say that Providence has given sailors bad cooks to prevent them from eating too much; or that, knowing they would have bad cooks, he has given them a good appetite to prevent them from dying with hunger. However, if you have no confidence in these succours of Providence, you may yourself, with a lamp and a boiler, by the help of a little spirits of wine, prepare some food, such as soup, hash, &c. A small oven made of tin plate is not a bad piece of furniture; your servant may roast in it à piece of mutton or pork. If you are ever tempted to eat salt beef, which is often very good, you will find that cider is the best liquor to quench the thirst generally caused by salt meat or salt fish. Sea biscuit, which is too hard for the teeth of some people, may be softened by steeping it; but bread double-baked is the best; for being made of good loafbread cut into slices, and baked a second time, it readily imbibes water, becomes soft, and is easily digested; it consequently forms excellent nourishment, much superior to that of biscuit, which has not been fermented.
I must here observe, that this double-baked bread was originally the real biscuit prepared to keep at sea ; for the word biscuit, in French, signifies twice baked.* Pease often boil badly, and do not become soft; in such case, by putting a two-pound shot into the kettle, the rolling of the vessel, by means of this bullet, will convert the pease into a kind of porridge, like mustard.
Having often seen soup, when put upon the table at sea in broad, flat dishes, thrown out on every side
* It is derived from bis, again, and cuit, baked.
by the rolling of the vessel, I have wished that our tinmen would make our soup-basins with divisions or compartments, forming small plates, proper for containing soup for one person only. By this disposition, the soup, in an extraordinary roll, would not be thrown out of the plate, and would not fall into the breasts of those who are at table, and scald them.
Having entertained you with these things of little importance, permit me now to conclude with some general reflections upon navigation.
When navigation is employed only for transporting necessary provisions from one country, where they abound, to another where they are wanting ; when by this it prevents famines, which were so frequent and so fatal before it was invented and became so common; we cannot help considering it as one of those arts which contribute most to the happiness of mankind. But when it is employed to transport things of no utility, or articles merely of luxury, it is then uncertain whether the advantages resulting from it are sufficient to counterbalance the misfortunes it occasions by exposing the lives of so many individuals upon the vast ocean. And when it is used to plunder vessels and transport slaves, it is evidently only the dreadful means of increasing those calamities, which afflict human nature.
One is astonished to think on the number of vessels and men, who are daily exposed in going to bring tea from China, coffee from Arabia, and sugar and tobacco from America; all, commodities which our ancestors lived very well without. The sugar trade employs nearly a thousand vessels, and that of tobacco almost the same number. With regard to the utility of tobacco, little can be said; and, with regard to sugar, how much more meritorious would it be to sacrifice
the momentary pleasure which we receive from drinking it once or twice a day in our tea, than to encourage the numberless cruelties that are continually exercised in order to procure it us !
A celebrated French moralist said, that, when he considered the wars which we foment in Africa to get negroes, the great number who of course perish in these wars; the multitude of those wretches who die in their passage, by disease, bad air, and bad provisions; and, lastly, how many perish by the cruel treatment they meet with in a state of slavery ; when he saw a bit of sugar, he could not help imagining it to be covered with spots of human blood. But, had he added to these considerations the wars which we carry on against one another, to take and retake the islands that produce this commodity, he would not have seen the sugar simply spotted with blood, he would have beheld it entirely tinged with it.
These wars make the maritime powers of Europe, and the inhabitants of Paris and London pay much dearer for their sugar than those of Vienna, though they are almost three hundred leagues distant from the sea. A pound of sugar, indeed, costs the former not only the price which they give for it, but also what they pay in taxes, necessary to support the fleets and armies, which serve to defend and protect the countries that produce it.
TOLERATION IN OLD ENGLAND AND NEW ENGLAND.*
SIR, I understand from the public papers, that in the debates on the bill for relieving the Dissenters in the point of subscription to the church articles, sundry reflections were thrown out against that people, importing, “ that they themselves are of a persecuting, intollerant spirit; for that, when they had the superiority, they persecuted the church, and still persecute it in America, where they compel its members to pay taxes for maintaining the Presbyterian or Independent worship, and, at the same time, refuse them a toleration in the full exercise of their religion by the administrations of a bishop.”
If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the church of England blamed persecution in the Romish church, but practised it against the Puritans. These found it wrong in the bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves, both here and in New England. To account for this we should remember, that the doctrine of toleration was not then known, or had not prevailed in the world. Persecution was, therefore, not so much
* This piece was first printed in The London Packet, June 30, 1772, and seems to relate to topics of public interest at that time. — EDITOR. [The spirited writer of the Two Letters to the Prelates, republished it in an appendix to that pamphlet, without, however, naming Dr. Franklin as the author, but expressing it to be the production of “ a gentleman highly respected in the literary world.” — B. V.]