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though the lower class of people are by no means of a military cast, yet they make better soldiers than even the noblesse of France.

The inhabitants of this country, a few ages back, were to the populous and rich provinces of France, what Canada is now to the British colonies. It is true, there was less disproportion between their natural strength; but I mean, that the riches of France were a real weakness, opposed to the military manners founded upon poverty and a rugged disposition, then the character of the English; but it must be remembered, that at this time the manners of a people were not distinct from that of their soldiery, for the use of standing armies has deprived a military people of the advantages they before had over others; and though it has been often said, that civil wars give power, because they render all men soldiers, I believe this has only been found true in internal wars following civil wars, and not in external ones; for now, in foreign wars, a small army, with ample means to support it, is of greater force than one more numerous, with less. This last fact has often happened between France and Germany.

The means of supporting armies, and consequently the power of exerting external strength, are best found in the industry and frugality of the body of a people living under a government and laws, that encourage commerce ; for commerce is at this day almost the only stimulus, that forces every one to contribute a share of labor for the public benefit.

But such is the human frame, and the world is so constituted, that it is a hard matter to possess one's self of a benefit, without laying one's self open to a loss on some other side; the improvements of manners of one sort often deprave those of another; thus we see industry and frugality under the influence of commerce,


which I call a commercial spirit, tend to destroy, as well as support, the government it flourishes under.

Commerce perfects the arts, but more the mechanical than the liberal, and this for an obvious reason; it softens and enervates the manners. Steady virtue and unbending integrity are seldom to be found where a spirit of commerce pervades every thing; yet the perfection of commerce is, that every thing should have its price. We every day see its progress, both to our benefit and detriment here. Things, that boni mores forbid to be set to sale, are become its objects, and there are few things indeed extra commercium. The legislative power itself has been in commercio, and church livings are seldom given without consideration, even by sincere Christians, and, for consideration, not seldom to very unworthy persons. The rudeness of ancient military times, and the fury of more modern enthusiastic ones, are worn off ; even the spirit of forensic contention is astonishingly diminished, all marks of manners softening ; but luxury and corruption have taken their places, and seem the inseparable companions of commerce and the arts.

I cannot help observing, however, that this is much more the case in extensive countries, especially at their metropolis, than in other places. It is an old observation of politicians, and frequently made by historians, that small states always best preserve their manners. Whether this happens from the greater room there is for attention in the legislature, or from the less room there is for ambition and avarice, it is a strong argument, among others, against an incorporating union of the colonies in America, or even a federal one, that may tend to the future reducing them under one government.

Their power, while disunited, is less, but their liberty, as well as manners, is more secure ; and, considering the little danger of any conquest to be made upon them, I had rather they should suffer something through disunion, than see them under a general administration less equitable than that concerted at Albany.*

I take it, the inhabitants of Pennsylvania are both frugal and industrious beyond those of any province in America. If luxury should spread, it cannot be extirpated by laws. We are told by Plutarch, that Plato used to say, It was a hard thing to make laws for the Cyrenians, a people abounding in plenty and opulence.

But from what I set out with it is evident, if I be not mistaken, that education only can stem the torrent, and, without checking either true industry or frugality, prevent the sordid frugality and laziness of the old Irish, and many of the modern Scotch, (I mean the inhabitants of that country, those who leave it for another being generally industrious,) or the industry, mixed with luxury, of this capital, from getting ground, and, by rendering ancient manners familiar, produce a reconciliation between disinterestedness and commerce; a thing we often see, but almost always in men of a liberal education.

To conclude; when we would form a people, soil and climate may be found at least sufficiently good; inhabitants may be encouraged to settle, and even supported for a while ; a good government and laws may be framed, and even arts may be established, or their produce imported ; but many necessary moral habits are hardly ever found among those who voluntarily offer themselves, in times of quiet at home, to people new colonies ; besides that the moral, as well as mechanical habits, adapted to a mother country, are frequently not so to



* Alluding to a plan for the union of the colonies, which had been concerted by a convention at Albany. The papers relating to this subject may be seen in another part of this work. -- EDITOR.

the new settled one, and to external events, many of which are always unforeseen. Hence it is we have seen such fruitless attempts to settle colonies, at an immense public and private expense, by several of the powers of Europe; and it is particularly observable, that none of the English colonies became any way considerable, till the necessary manners were born and grew up in the country, excepting those to which singular circumstances at home forced manners fit for the forming a new state.

I am, Sir, &c. R. J




These remarks were written in pencil on the margin of Judge Foster's REPORT, in which was contained his argument respecting the impressment of seamen. The extracts from the REPORT are printed below in the smaller type, and each is followed by Franklin's remarks in the larger type. The references are to the edition of 1762. — EDITOR.

Page 157. “The only question at present is, whether mariners, persons who have freely chosen a seafaring life, persons whose education and employment have fitted them for the service, and inured them to it, whether such persons may not be legally pressed into the service of the crown, whenever the public safety requireth it; ne quid detrimenti respublica capiat.

"For my part, I think they may. I think the crown hath a right to command the service of these people whenever the public safety calleth for it. The same right that it hath to require the personal service of every man able to bear arms in case of a

about to prove

sudden invasion or formidable insurrection. The right in both cases is founded on one and the same principle, the necessity of the case in order to the preservation of the whole."

The conclusion here, from the whole to a part, does not seem to be good logic. When the personal service of every man is called for, there the burthen is equal. Not so, when the service of part is called for, and others excused. 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 and fight for us, while we stay at home and sleep in whole skins; that is not equal, and therefore cannot be just. Page 158. “ It would be time


spent to

go that this nation can never be long in a state of safety, our coast defended, and our trade protected, without a naval force equal to all the emergencies that may happen. And how can we be secure of such a force? The keeping up the same naval force in time of peace, which will be absolutely necessary for our security in time of war, would be an absurd, a fruitless, and a ruinous expense. The only course then left, is for the crown to employ, upon emergent occasions, the mariners bred up in the merchant's service."

Employif 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 for me on such terms as I think proper.

“ And as for the mariner himself, he, when taken into the service of the crown, only changeth masters for a time; his service and employment continue the very same, with this advantage, that the dangers of the sea and enemy are not so great in the service of the crown as in that of the merchant."

These are false facts. His service and employment are not the same. Under the merchant, he goes in an unarmed vessel not obliged to fight, but only to transport merchandise. In the king's service, he is obliged to

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