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BRITAIN, FRANCE, SPAIN, HOLLAND, SAXONY,
A humorous piece, representing the political condition and objects of several countries at the beginning of the American war; written soon after the author's arrival in France, as a Commissioner from the United States. —EDITOR.
Britain. SISTER of Spain, I have a favor to ask of you. My subjects in America are disobedient, and I am about to chastise them; I beg you will not furnish them with any arms or ammunition.
Spain. Have you forgotten, then, that when my subjects in the Low Countries rebelled against me, you not only furnished them with military stores, but joined them with an army and a fleet? I wonder how you can have the impudence to ask such a favor of me, or the folly to expect it !
Britain. You, my dear sister France, will surely not refuse me this favor.
France. Did you not assist my rebel Huguenots with a fleet and an army at Rochelle ? And have you not lately aided privately and sneakingly my rebel subjects in Corsica ? And do you not at this instant keep their chief, pensioned, and ready to head a fresh revolt there, whenever you can find or make an opportunity ? Dear sister, you must be a little silly!
Britain. Honest Holland! You see it is remembered I was once your friend; you will therefore be mine on this occasion. I know, indeed, you are accustomed to smuggle with these rebels of mine. I will wink at that; sell them as much tea as you please, to enervate the rascals, since they will not take it of me; but for God's sake don't supply them with any arms !
Holland. Tis true you assisted me against Philip, my tyrant of Spain, but have I not assisted you against one of your tyrants; * and enabled you to expel him ? Surely that account, as we merchants say, is balanced, and I am nothing in your debt. I have indeed some complaints against you, for endeavouring to starve me by your Navigation Acts ; but, being peaceably disposed, I do not quarrel with you for that. I shall only go on quietly with my own business. Trade is my profession ; 't is all I have to subsist on. And, let me tell you, I shall make no scruple (on the prospect of a good market for that commodity) even to send my ships to Hell and supply the Devil with brimstone. For you must know, I can insure in London against the burning of my sails.
America to Britain. Why, you old bloodthirsty bully! You, who have been everywhere vaunting your own prowess, and defaming the Americans as poltroons! You, who have boasted of being able to march over all their bellies with a single regiment! You, who by fraud have possessed yourself of their strongest fortress, and all the arms they had stored up in it! You, who have a disciplined army in their country, intrenched to the teeth, and provided with every thing! Do you run about begging all Europe not to supply those poor people with a little powder and shot ? Do you mean, then, to fall upon them naked and unarmed, and butcher them in cold blood? Is this your courage? Is this your magnanimity?
* James the Second.
Britain. Oh! you wicked — Whig - Presbyterian - Serpent! Have you the impudence to appear before me after all your disobedience? Surrender immediately all your liberties and properties into my hands, or I will cut you to pieces. Was it for this that I planted your country at so great an expense ? That I protected you
in your infancy, and defended you against all your enemies?
America. I shall not surrender my liberty and property, but with my life. It is not true, that my country was planted at your expense.
Your own records * refute that falsehood to your face. Nor did you ever afford me a man or a shilling to defend me against the Indians, the only enemies I had upon my own account. But, when you have quarrelled with all Europe, and drawn me with you into all your broils, then
broils, then you value yourself upon protecting me from the enemies you have
See the Journals of the House of Commons, 1642, viz.
“ Die Veneris, Martii 10°, 1642. “ Whereas the plantations in New England have, by the blessing of Almighty God, had good and prosperous success, without any public charge to this State ; and are now likely to prove very happy for the propagation of the Gospel in those parts, and very beneficial and commodious to this kingdom and nation; the Commons now assembled in Parliament do, for the better advancement of those plantations, and the encouragement of the planters to proceed in their undertaking, ordain, that all merchandises and goods, that by any merchant, or other person or persons whatsoever, shall be exported out of this kingdom of England into New England, to be spent, used, or employed there; or, being of the growth of that kingdom, shall be from thence imported hither, or shall be laden or put on board in any ship or vessel for necessaries in passing or returning to and fro; and all and every the owner or owners thereof, shall be freed and discharged of and from paying and yielding any custom, subsidy, taxation, imposition, or other duty for the same, either inward or outward, either in this kingdom or New England, or in any port, haven, creek, or other place whatsoever, until the House of Commons shall take further order therein to the contrary. And all and singular customers, &c. are to observe this order."
made for me. I have no natural cause of difference with Spain, France, or Holland, and yet by turns I have joined with you in wars against them all. You would not suffer me to make or keep a separate peace with any of them, though I might easily have done it to great advantage. Does your protecting me in those wars give you a right to fleece me? If so, as I fought for you, as well as you for me, it gives me a proportionable right to fleece you. What think you of an American • law to make a monopoly of you and your commerce, as you have done by your laws of me and mine? Content yourself with that monopoly if you are wise, and learn 'ustice if you would be respected!
Britain. You impudent b-h! Am not I your mother country? Is not that a sufficient title to your respect and obedience ?
Saxony. Mother country! Ha! ha! ha! What respect have you the front to claim as a mother country? You know that I am your mother country, and yet you pay me none. Nay, it is but the other day, that you hired ruffians * to rob me on the highway,t and burn my house! | For shame! Hide your face and hold your tongue. If you continue this conduct, you will make yourself the contempt of Europe !
Britain. O Lord! Where are my friends?
France, Spain, Holland, and Saxony, all together. Friends! Believe us, you have none, nor ever will have any, till you mend your manners. How can we, who are your neighbours, have any regard for you, or expect any equity from you, should your power increase, when we see how basely and unjustly you have used both your own mother and your own children?
* Prussians. † They entered and raised contributions in Saxony. | And they burnt the fine suburbs of Dresden, the capital of Saxony.
RELATIVE TO THE ENGLISH NATIONAL DEBT.
Question 1. SUPPOSING this debt to be only one hundred and ninety-five millions of pounds sterling at present, although it is much more, * and that was all to be counted in shillings, that a man could count at the rate of one hundred shillings per minute, for twelve hours each day, till he has counted the whole, how long would le take in doing it?
Answer. One hundred forty-eight years, one hundred nine days, and twenty-two hours.
Q. 2. The whole of this sum being three thousand nine hundred millions of shillings, and the coinage standard being sixty-two in the Troy pound, what is the whole weight of this sum ?
A. Sixty-one millions, seven hundred fifty-two thousand, four hundred and seventy-six Troy pounds.
Q. 3. How many ships would carry this weight, suppose one hundred tons each?
A. Three hundred and fourteen ships.
Q. 4. How many carts would carry this weight, suppose a ton in each ?
A. Thirty-one thousand, four hundred and fiftytwo carts.
Q. 5. The breadth of a shilling being one inch, if all these shillings were laid in a straight line, close to one another's edges, how long would that line be that would contain them?
* At present (1777) it is said to be at least two hundred and thirty millions.