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creasing difficulties of maintaining families, which of course discourage early marriages. Thus she will have fewer people to assist in paying her debts, and that diminishing number will be poorer. America, on the contrary, has, besides her lands already cultivated, a vast territory yet to be cultivated; which, being cultivated, continually increases in value with the increase of people; and the people, who double themselves by a natural propagation every twenty-five years, will double yet faster by the accession of strangers, as long as lands are to be had for new families; so that every twenty years there will be a double number of inhabitants obliged to discharge the public debts; and those inhabitants, being more opulent, may pay their shares with greater ease.
6. Respecting prudence in general affairs, and the advantages to be expected from the loan desired, the Americans are cultivators of land; those engaged in fishery and commerce are few, compared with the others. They have ever conducted their several governments with wisdom, avoiding wars and vain, expensive projects, delighting only in their peaceable occupations, which must, considering the extent of their uncultivated territory, find them employment still for ages. Whereas England, ever unquiet, ambitious, avaricious, imprudent, and quarrelsome, is half of the time engaged in war, always at an expense infinitely greater than the advantages to be obtained by it, if successful. Thus they made war against Spain in 1739, for a claim of about £ 95,000, (scarce a groat for each individual of the nation), and spent forty millions sterling in the war, and the lives of fifty thousand men; and finally made peace without obtaining satisfaction for the sum claimed. Indeed, there is scarce a nation in Europe, against which she has not made war on some frivolous pretext or other, and thereby imprudently accumulated a debt, that has brought her on the verge of bankruptcy. But the most indiscreet of all her wars is the present against America, with whom she might for ages have preserved her profitable connexion only by a just and equitable conduct. She is now acting like a mad shop-keeper, who, by beating those that pass his doors, attempts to make them come in and be his customers. America cannot submit to such treatment, without being first ruined, and, being ruined, her custom will be worth nothing. England, to effect this, is increasing her debt, and irretrievably ruining herself. America, on the other hand, aims only to establish her liberty, and that freedom of commerce which will be advantageous to all Europe; and, by abolishing that monopoly which she labored under, she will profit infinitely more than enough to repay any debt, which she may contract to accomplish it.
7. Respecting character in the honest payment of debts, the punctuality with which America has discharged her public debts was shown under the first head. And the general good disposition of the people to such punctuality has been manifested in their faithful payment of private debts to England, since the commencement of this war. There were not wanting some politicians (in America), who proposed stopping that payment, until peace should be restored, alleging, that in the usual course of commerce, and of the credit given, there was always a debt existing equal to the trade of eighteen months; that, the trade amounting to five millions sterling per annum, the debt must be seven millions and a half; that this sum paid to the British merchants would operate to prevent that distress, intended to be brought upon Britain by our stoppage of commerce with her; for the merchants, receiving this money, and no orders with it for further supplies, would either lay it out in public funds, or in employing manufacturers to accumulate goods for a future hungry market in America upon an expected accommodation, by which means the funds would be kept up and the manufacturers prevented from murmuring. But against this it was alleged, that injuries from ministers should not be revenged on merchants; that the credit was in consequence of private contracts made in confidence of good faith; that these ought to be held sacred and faithfully complied with; for that, whatever public utility might be supposed to arise from a breach of private faith, it was unjust, and would in the end be found unwise, honesty being in truth the best policy. On this principle the proposition was universally rejected; and though the English prosecuted the war with unexampled barbarity, burning our defenceless towns in the midst of winter, and arming savages against us, the debt was punctually paid, and the merchants of London have testified to the Parliament, and will testify to all the world, that from their experience in dealing with us they had, before the war, no apprehension of our unfairness, and that, since the war, they have been convinced that their good opinion of us was well founded. England, on the contrary, an old, corrupt government, extravagant and profligate nation, sees herself deep in debt, which she is in no condition to pay, and yet is madly and dishonestly running deeper, without any possibility of discharging her debt but by a public bankruptcy.
It appears, therefore, from the general industry, frugality, ability, prudence, and virtue of America, that
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she is a much safer debtor than Britain; to say nothing of the satisfaction generous minds must have in reflecting, that by loans to America they are opposing tyranny, and aiding the cause of liberty, which is the cause of all mankind.
AUGMENTATION OF WAGES,
WHICH WILL BE OCCASIONED IN EUROPE BY THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.
I know not whether these Reflections have ever before appeared in an English dress. They are here presented in a translation from the French, as published in Castera's edition of the author's writings. Castera says, that a copy was found among Franklin's papers, and inserted in the Journal <FEconomie Publique, (du 10 Ventoso an V.); but, not being able to procure that journal, he translated it from the German version contained in the Minerva, edited by Archenholz. The following is a translation from Castera's version; and, after having thus passed through two languages, the style and other characteristics of the original must of course be essentially changed, and not for the better. But the sentiments and train of reasoning are perhaps retained with sufficient accuracy, and, even in this imperfect form, it may be deemed worthy of the author. Whether his views are not more ingenious than sound, and whether they have been confirmed by experience, are at least questionable points. The paper was probably written in France, during the American Revolution, or immediately after the peace. — Editor.
The independence and prosperity of the United States of America will raise the price of wages in Europe, an advantage of which I believe no one has yet spoken.
The low rate of wages is one of the greatest defects in the political associations of Europe, or rather of the old world.