Abbildungen der Seite

other produce will not suit, in exchange for the produce of some other country that furnishes what we have more occasion for, or more desire. When we have, to an inconvenient degree, parted with our gold and silver, our industry is stimulated afresh to procure more; that by its means we may contrive to procure the same advantages.

Of Restraints upon Commerce in Time of War.

When princes make war by prohibiting commerce, each may hurt himself as much as his enemy.Traders, who by their business are promoting the common good of mankind, as well as farmers and fishermen, who labour for the subsistence of all, should never be interrupted or molested in their business, but enjoy the protection of all in the time of war, as well as in the time of peace.

This policy, those we are pleased to call barbarians, have, in a great measure, adopted: for the trading subjects of any power, with whom the Emperor of Morrocco may be at war, are not liable to capture, when within sight of his land, going or coming; and have otherwise free liberty to trade and reside in his dominions.

As a maritime power, we presume it is not thought right that Great Britain should grant such freedom, except partially, as in the case of war with France, when tobacco is allowed to be sent thither under the sanction of passports.

Exchange in Trade may be gainful to each

In transactions of trade it is not to be supposed that, like gaming, what one party gains the other must necessarily lose. The gain to each may be equal. If A has more corn than he can consume, but wants cattle; and B has more cattle, but wants corn, exchange is gain to each: hereby the common stock of comforts in life is increased.

Of Paper Credit.

It is impossible for government to circumscribe or fix the extent of paper credit, which must of course fluctuate. Government may as well pretend to lay down rules for the operations, or the confidence of every individual in the course of his trade. Any seeming temporary evil arising must naturally work its own cure.

[ocr errors]


Attributed to the Pen of Dr. Franklin

ALTHOUGH the following article has not yet appear ed in any collection of the works of this great philo sopher, we are inclined to receive the general opinion, (from the plainness of the style, and the humour which characterizes it) to be the performance of Dr. Franklin.

My wish is to give you some account of the people of these new States, but I am far from being qua lified for the purpose, having as yet seen little more than the cities of New York and Philadelphia. I have discovered but few national singularities among them. Their customs and manners are nearly the same with those of England, which they have long been used to copy. For, previous to the Revolution, the Americans were from their infancy taught to look up to the English as patterns of perfection in all things. I have observed, however, one custom, which, fur aught I know, is peculiar to this country; an ac count of it will serve to fill up the remainder of this sheet, and may afford you some amusement.

When a young couple are about to enter into the matrimonial state, a never-failing article in the marriage treaty is, that the lady shail have and enjoy the free and unmolested exercise of the rights of whitewashing, with all its ceremonials, privileges and appurtenances. A young woman would forego the most advantageous connexion, and even disappoint the warmest wish of her heart, rather than resign the invaluable right. You would wonder what this privilege of white-washing is: I will endeavour to give you some idea of the ceremony, as I have seen it performed.

There is no season of the year in which the lads may not claim her privilege, if she pleases; but the

[ocr errors]

latter end of May is most generally fixed upon us the purpose. The attentive husband may judge by cer tain prognostics when the storm is nigh at hand. When the lady is unusually fretful, finds faults with the servants, is discontented with the children, and complains much of the filthiness of every thing about her, these are signs which ought not to be neglected; yet they are not decisive, as they sometimes come on and go off again, without producing any farther ef fect. But if, when the husband rises in the morning, he should observe in the yard a wheel-barrow with a quantity of line in it, or should see certain buckets with lime dissolved in water, there is then no time to be lost; he immediately locks up the apartment or closet where his papers or his private property is kept, and putting the key in his pocket, betakes himself to flight: for a husband, however beloved, becomes a perfect nuisance during this season of female rage, his authority is superseded, his commission is suspended, and the very scullion, who cleans the brasses in the kitchen, becomes of more consideration and importance than him. He has nothing for it but to abdicate, and run from an evil which he can neither prevent nor mollify.

The husband gone, the ceremony begins. The walls are in a few minutes stripped of their furniture; paintings, prints, and looking-glasses, lie in a huddled heap about the floors; the curtains are torn from the testers, the beds crammed into the windows; chairs and tables, bedsteads and cradles, crowd the yard; and the garden-fence bends beneath the weight of carpets, blankets, cloth cloaks, old coats, and ragged breeches. Here may be seen the lumber of the kit chen, forming a dark and confused mass: for the

re-ground of the picture, gridirons and frying pans, rusty shovels and broken tongs, spits and pots, and the fractured remains of rush-bottomed chairs. There a closet has disgorged its bowels, cracked tumblers, broken wine-glasses, phials of forgotten physic, papers of unknown powders, seeds and dried herbs, handfuls of old corks, tops of tea-pots, and stoppers of departed decanters; from the rag-hole in the garret to the rat-hole in the celiar, no place

escapes unrummaged. It would seem as if the day of general doom was come, and the utensils of the house were dragged forth to judgment. In this tempest the words of Lear naturally present themselves, and might, with some alteration, be made strictly. applicable:

-"Let the great gods,

That keep this dreadful pudder o'er our heads,
Find out their en'inies now. Tremble, thou

That hast within thee, undivulged crimes
Unwhip'd of justice!"—

"Close pent-up guilt,

Raise your concealing continents, and ask
These dreadful summoners grace !"

This ceremony completed, and the house thoroughly evacuated, the next operation is to smear the walls and ceilings of every room and closet with brushes dipped in a solution of lime called whitewash; to pour buckets of water over every floor, and scratch all the partitions and wainscots with rough brushes wet with soap-suds, and dipped in stonecutter's sand. The windows by no means escape the general deluge. A servant scrambles out upon the pent-house, at the riskolor neck, and with a mug in her hand, and a hacket within reach, she dashes away innumerable gallons of water against the glass panes; to the great annoyance of the passengers in the street.

I have been told that an action at law was once brought against one of these water-nymphs by a per son who had a new suit of clothes spoiled by this operation; but after long argument, it was determined by the whole court, that the action would not lie, inasmuch as the defendant was in the exercise of a legal right, and not answerable for the consequences; and so the poor gentleman was doubly non suited

« ZurückWeiter »