Abbildungen der Seite

a war he just or unjust; he is to execute his orders. All princes, who are disposed to become tyrants, must probably approve of this opinion, and be wil. ling to establish it: but is it not a dangerous one ? since, on that principle, if the tyrant commands his army to attack and destruy not only an unoffending neighbour nation, but even his own subjects, the ar'my is bound to obey. A negro slave, in our colonies, being commanded by his master to rob or 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 uzjust 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 behoves merchants (men more enlightened by their education, and perfectly free from any such force or obligations 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, inaim, and murder them, if they endeavour to defend it. Yet these things are done by Christian merohants, whether a war be just or unjust; and it can hardly he 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. A

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 Eurorapoan nation to make profit by privateering (most of the trade with Europe with the West Indies, pass. ing before their doors) are, as far as in them lies, en. Convouring to abolish the practice, by offering in all their treaties with other powers, an article, engage

ing 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 propositio With unchangeable esteem and affection, I am, my dear friend,

Ever your's..

* This offer baviog been accepted by the late King of Prussia, & treaty of anity and commerce was concluded between that monarch and the United States, containing the following bumane and philan. thropic article; in the formation of which Dr. Franklin, as one of the American plenipotentiaries, was principally concerned, viz.

ART. XXIII. If war should arise between the two contracting parties, the merchants of either country, then residing in the other, sball be allowed to remain pine months to collect their debts and setile their affairs, and may depart freely, carrying off all their effects without molentation or hindrance; and all women and children, scholars of every faculty, cultivators of the earth, artizans, manufacturers, and fisherman uparmed, and inhabiting unfortified towne, 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 inoleated in their persons, nor shall their houses cr goods be burnt, or otherwise destroyed, por their fields wasted by the armed force of the enemy into wlose power, by the events of war, they may happen to fall; but if any thing 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 geacral, shall be allowed to pass free and onmolestod : and neither of the contracting povers shall grant or issue any commission to any private armed venela, empowering them to take or destroy such trading vessels, or interrupt such commerce,



SAVAGES we call them because their manners differ from ours, which we think the perfection of civility; they think the same of theirs.

Perhaps if we could examine the manners of different nations with impartiality, we should find no people so rude as to be without any rules of politeness ; nor any so polite as not to have some reInains of rudeness.

The Indian men when young, are hunters and warriors; when old, counsellors; for all their government is by the council and advice of the sages; there is no force, there are no prisons, no officers, to compel obedience, or infict punishment. Hence they generally study oratory; the best speaker having the most influence. The Indian women till the ground, dress the food, nurse and bring up the children, and preserve and hand down to posterity the memory of public transactions. These employments of men and women are accounted natural and honourable. Having few artificial wants, they, have abundance of leisure for improvement in conversa tion. Our laborious manner of life, compared with theirs, they esteem slavish and base; and the learning on which we value ourselves, they regard as frivolous and useless. An instance of this occurred at the treaty of Lancaster, in Pennsylvania, anno 1744, between the government of Virginia and the Six Nations. After the principal business was settled, the commissioners from Virginia acquainted the Indians by a speech, that there was at Williamsburgh a college, with a fund, for educating Indian youth ; and if the chiefs of the Six Nations would send down half a dozen of their sons to that college, the government would take care they should be well provided for, aud instructed in all the learning of the white people. It is one of the Indian rules of politeness not to answer a public proposition the same day that it is made : they think it would be treating it as a light • matter, and that they show it respect by taking time to consider it, as of a matter important. They therefore deferred their answer till the day following: when their speaker began by expressing their deep sense of the kindness of the Virginia government, in making them that offer; “ for we know," says he, “that you highly esteem the kind of learning taught in those colleges, and that the maintenance of our young men, while with you would be very expensive to you. We are convinced, therefore, that you mean to do us good by your proposal; and we thank you heartily. But you who are wise must krow, that different nå. tions have different conceptions of things; and you will therefore not take it amiss, if our ideas of this kind of education happen not to be the same with yours. We have had some experience of it; several of our young people were formerly brought up at the colleges of the northern provinces; they were instructed in all your sciences; but when they came back to us, they were bad runners; ignorant of every means of living in the woods; unable to bear either cold or hunger; knew neither how to build a cabin, take a deer, or kill an enemy; spoke our language imperfectly; were therefore neither fit for hunters, warriors, or counsellors: they were totally good for nothing. We are however not the less obliged by your kind offer, though we decline accepting of it; and to show our grateful sense of it if the gentlemen of Virginia will send us a dozen of their sons, we will take great care of their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them.

Having frequent occasions to hold public councils, they have acquired great order and decency in conducting them. The old men sit in the foremost ranks, the warriors in the next, and the wonien and children in the hindmost. The business of the wo. men is to take notice of what passes, imprint it in their memories, for they have no writing, and communicate it to the children. They are the records of the council, and they preserve traditions of the stipulations in treaties a hundred years back; which, when we compare with our writing, we always find

esact. Ile that would speak, rises. The rest ob+ serve a profound silence. When he has finished, and sits down, they leave him five or six minutes to recollect, that if he has omitted any thing he latended to say or has any thing to add, he may rise again and deliver it. To interrupt another, even in common conversation, is reckoned highly indecent. How different this is from the conduct of a polite British House of Commons, where scarce a day passes without some con. fusion, that makes the speaker garse in calling to order; and how different from the mode of conversation, in many polite companies of Europe, where if you do not deliver your sentences with great rapidity, you are cut off in the middle of it by the impa. rient loquacity of those you converse with, and never suffered to finish it!

The politeness of these savages in conversation is indeed carried to excess; since it does not permit them to contradict or deny the truth of what is asserted in their presence. By this means they, indeed, avoid disputes; but then it becomes difficult to know their minds, or what impression you make upon them. The missionaries, who have attempted to convert them to Christianity, all complain of this as one of the great difficulties of their mission. The Indians hear with patience the truths of the gospel explained to them, and give their usual tokens of assent and approbation : you would think they were convinced. No such matter-it is mere civuity.

A Swedish minister having assembled the chiefs of the Susquehannah Indians, made a sermon to them, acquainting them with the principal histurical facts on which our religion is founded : such as the fall of our first parents by eating an apple; the coming of Christ to repair the mischief; his miracles and sufferings, &c.-When he had finished, an Indian orator stood up to thank him. “What you have told us;” says he is all very good. It is indeed bad to eat apples. It is better to make them all into cider. We are much obliged to your kindness in coming so far to tell us those things which you have heard from


« ZurückWeiter »