Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

al than than those of other countries, nations, and ages, enjoying in the same degree the great blessings of political liberty.

Some indeed among us are not so much grieved for the present state of our affairs, as apprehensive for the future. The growth of luxury alarms them,

and they think we are from that alone in the high road · to ruin. They observe, that no revenue is sufficient , without economy, and that the most plentiful income of a whole people from the natural productions of their country may be dissipated in vain and need. less expenses; and poverty be introduced in the place of affluence. This may be possible. It how. ever, rarely happens ; for there seems to be in every nation a greater proportion of industry and frugality, which tend to enrich, than of idleness and prodigal. ity, which occasion poverty; so that upon the whole there is a continual accumulation. Reflect what Spain, Gaul, Germany, and Brtiain were in the time of the Romans, inhabited by people little richer than our savages, and consider the wealth that they at present possess, in numerous well-built cities, im. prored farms, rich moveables, magazines stocked with valuable manufactures, to say nothing of plate, jewels and coined money; and all this, notwithstand. ing their bad, wasteful, plundering governments, and their mad destructive wars; and yet luxury and ex. travagant living has never suffered much restraint in those countries. Then consider the great proportiou of industrious frugal farmers inhabiting the interior parts of these American States, and of whom the body of our nation consists, and judge whether it is possible that the luxury of our seaports can be sufficient to ruin such a conntry. If the importation of foreign luxuries could ruin a people, we should probably have been ruined long ago; for the British natior claimed a right, and practised it, of importing among us not only the superfluities of their own production, but those of every nation under heaven; we bought and consumed them, and yet we flourished and grew rich. At present our independent governmnents inay do what we could not then do, discourage by leavy duties, or prevent by heavy prohibitions,

such importations, and thereby grow richer :-if, in: deed, which may admit of dispute, the desire of adorning ourselves with fine clothes, possessing fine furniture, with elegant houses, &c. is not, by strong ly inciting to labour and industry, the occasion of producing a greater value than is contn ued in the gratification of that desire.

The agriculture and fisheries of the United States are the great sources of our increasing wealth. He that puts a seed into the earth is recompensel, per haps, by receiving forty out of it, and he who draws a fish out of our water draws up a piece of silver.

Let us (and there is no doubt but we shall) be at tentive to these, and then the power of rivals, with all their restraining and prohibiting acts, cannot much hurt us. We are scns of the earth and seas, and, like Antæus in the fable, if in wrestling with a Hercules, we now and then receive a fall, the touch of our parents will communicate to lis fresh strength and vigour to renew the contest.

INFORMATION TO THOSE WHO WOULD

REMOVE TO AMERICA.

Many persons in Europe have directly, or by let. ters, expressed to the writer of this, who is well acquainted with North America, their desire of trans porting and establisning themselves in that country, but who appear to have formed, thrcugh ignorance, mistaken ideas and expectations of what is to be obtained there; he thinks it may be useful, and prevent inconvenient, expensive, and fruitless removals and voyages of improper persons, if he gives some clear er notions of that part of the world than appear to have hitherto prevailed.

He finds it is imagined by numbers, that the in. habitants of North America are rich, capable of re. warding, and disposed to reward, all sorts of ingenuity; that they are at the same time ignorant of all the sciences, and consequently that strangers, possessing talents in the belles-lettres, fine arts, &c. must be highly es. teemed, and so well paid as to become easily rich themselves; that there are also abundance of profitable offices to be disposed of which the natives are not qualified to fill; and that having few persons of family among them, strangers of birth must be greatly respected, and of course easily obtain the best of those offices, which will make all their fortunes: that the governments too, to encourage emigrations from Europe, not only pay the expense of personal, transportation, but give lands gratis to strangers, with negroes to work for them, utensils of husbandry, and stocks of cattle. These are all wild imaginations; and those who go America with expectations founded upon them, will surely find themselves disappointed.

The truth is, that though there are in that counting

few people so miserable as the poor of Europe, there are also very few that in Europe would be called rich: it is rather a general happy mediocrity that prevails. There are few great proprietors of the soil, and few tenants; most people cultivate their own lands, or follow some handicraft or merchandise ; very few rich enough to live idly upon their rents or incomes, or to pay the high prices given in Europe for painting, statutes, archiiecture, and the other works of art that are more curious than useful. Hence the natural genuises that have arisen in Ainerica, with such talents, have uniformly quitted that country for Europe, where they can be more suitably rewarded. It is true that letters and matbemarica knowledge are in esteem there, but they are at the same time more common than is apprehended; their being already existing nine coileges, or universities, viz. four in New England, and one in each of the provinces of New York, New Jersy, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia-all furnished with learned professors; besides a number of smaller acadamies: these cducate many of their youth in the languages, and those sciences that qualify men for the professions of divinity, law or physic. Strangers, indeed, are by no means excluded from exercising those professions; and the quick increase of inhabitants everywhere gives thein a chance of employ, which they have in common with the natives. Of civil offices or em. ployments, there are few; no superflous ones, as in Europe, and it is a rule established in some of the States, that no office should be so profitable as to make it desirable. The 36th article of the constitution of Pennsylvania runs expressly in these words: “As every freeman, to preserve his independence (if he has not a sufficient estate,) ought to have some profession, calling, trade, or farm, whereby he may honestly subsist, there can be no necessity for, nor use in establishing, offices of profit; the usual effects of which are dependence and servility; unbecoming freemen, in the possessors and expectants; faction, contention, corruption, and disorder among the peo. ple. Wherefore, whenever an office, through in

crease of fees or otherwise, becomes so profitable aš 10 occasion many to apply for it, the profits ought to be lessened by the legislature.”

These ideas prevailing more or less in the United States, it cannot be worth any man's while, who has a means of living at home, lo expatriate himself in hopes of obtaining a profitable civil office in Ameri. ca; and as to military offices, they are at an end with the war, the armies being disbanded. Much less is it advisable for a person to go thither, who has no other quality to recommend him than his birth. In Europe it has indeed its value; but it is a commodi. in that cannot be carried to a worse market than to that of America, where people do not enquire concerning a stranger, What is he? but What can he do? If he has any useful ait, he is welcome; and if he exercises it, and behaves well he will be respected by all that know him : but a mere man of quality, who on that account wants to live upon the public by some office or salary, will be despised and dieregard. ed. The husbandanan is in honour there and even the mechanic, because their employments are useful. The people have a saying, that God Almighty is him. self a mechanic, the greatest in the universe; and he is respected and admired more for the variety, ingenuity, and utility of his handicraft works, ihan for the antiquity of his family. They are pleased with the observation of a negro, and frequently mention it, that Boccarorra (meaning the white man) make de black man workee, make de horse workee, make de ox workee, make ebery ting workee, only de hog. He, de hog, no workee; he eat, he drink, he walk about, he go to sleen when he please, he libb like a gentleman. According to these opinions of the Americans, one of them would think himself more obliged to a genealogist, who could prove for him that his ancestors and relations for ten generations had been ploughmen, smiths, carpenters, turners, weavers, tanners, or even shoe-makers, and consequently that they were useful members of society; than if he could on!y prove that they were gentlemen, doing nothing of value, but living idly on the labour of

« ZurückWeiter »