Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the owners of houses and lots of ground have had their interest vastly augmented in value; rents have risen to an astonishing height, and thence encouragement to increase building, which gives employment to an abundance of worke inen, as do's also the increased luxury and splendor of living of the inhabitants thus made richer. These workmen all demund and obtain much higher wages than any other part of the world would afford them, and are paid in ready money. This rank of people therefore do not, or ought not, to como plain of hard times; and they make a very considerable pa:t of the city inhabitants.

At the distance I live fro:n our American fisheries, I can. not speak of them with any degree of certainty; but I have not heard that the labor of the valuable race of nen einployed in them is worse paid, or that they meet with less success, than before the Re.olution. The whule:nen, indeel, ha:e been deprived of one market for their oil, but diother, I hear, is opening for them, which it is hoped may be equally advantageous; and the demand is constantly increasing for their spermaceti candles, which therefore bear a much higher price than fo mery,

There remain the inerehuts and shopkeepers. Of these, though they make but a small part of the whole nation, the number is considerable, toy greut indeed for the business they are emplo; ed in; for the consunption of goods in every comtry has its limits; the faculties of the people, that is, their ability to buy and pay are equal to a certain quantity of merchandise. If merchants calculate amiss on this pröportiɔn, and import too much, they will of course find the sale dull for the overplus, and some of them will say that trase, languishes. They should, and doubtless will, grow wiser by experience, and import less.

If toɔ many artificers in town, and farmers from the country, flattcring themselies with the idea of leading easier li:es, turn shopkeepers, the whole natural quantity of that bsiness divided ainong them all, may afford too small a share for each, and occasion complaints that trading is dead: these may also suppose thut it is owing to scarcity of money'; . while, in fact, it is not so much froin the fewness of buyers, as fro:n the excessive number of sellers, that the mischief aries; and if every shopkeeping farmer and mechanic would return to the use of his plough and working tools, there

would remain of widows and other women, shopkeepers sufficient for the business, which might then afford them a comfy.table maintenance.

Whoever has travelled through the various parts of Europe, and observed how small is the proportion of people in afluence or easy circumstances there, compared with those in poverty and misery: The few rich and haughty landlords, the inultitude of poor, abject, rack-rented, tythe-paying tenants, and half-paid, and half-starved, ragged laborers ; and view's here the happy mediocrity that so generally prevails throughout these States, where the cultivator works for himself and supports his funily in dece:it plenty; will, methinks, see abundant reason to bless Divine Providenco . for the evident and great difference in our favor, and be convinced that no nation known to us enjoys a greater share of human felicity.

It is true that in some of the States there are parties and discords; but let us look back, and ask if we were ever without them? Such will exist wherever there is liberty; and perhaps they help to preserve it. By the collision of different sentiments, sparks of truth are struck out, and political light is obtained. The different factions which at present divite us, aim all at the public good; the differencas are only about the various moles of promoting it. Things, actions, measures, and objects of all kinds, present themselves to the ininds of men in such a variety of lights, that it is not possible we should all think alike at the saine tiine on every subject, when hardly the same man retains at all times the saine ideas of it. Parties are, therefore, the coinmon lot of humanity; and ours are by no means inore mischio. vous or less beneficial than those of other countries, nations, and agos, enjoying in the same degree the great blessing 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 thein, and they think we are from that alone on the high road io ruin. They obser:e, 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 rain and needless expenses; and poverty be introduced in the place of affluence. This may be possible. It however rarely

happens; for there seems to be in every nation a greater proportion of industry and f. ugality, which tend to enrich, ihan of idleness and prodigality, which occasion poverty; so that upon the whole, there is a continual accuinulation. Reflect what Spain, Gaul, Germany, and Britain 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, improved farms, rich moveables, magazines stocked with valuable manufactories, to say nothing of plate, jewels, and coined noney; and all this, notwithstanding their bad, wasteful, plundering governments, and their mad, destructive wars; and yet luxury and extravagant li: ing has never suffered much restraint in those countries. Then consider the great proportion of industrious frugal farmers inhabiting the interior parts of these Ainerican States, and of whom the body of our nation consists, and jurige whether it is possible that the luxury of our sea-ports can be sufficient to ruin such a country.If the inportation of foreign luxuries could ruin a people, we should probably have been ruined long ago; for the British nation 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 governments may do what we could not then do, discourage by heavy duties, or prevent by heavy prohibitions, such importations, and thereby grow richer;-jf, indeed, which may admit of dispute, the desire of adorning ourselves with fine clothes, possessing fine furniture, with elegant houses, &c. is not, by strongly inciting to labor and industry, the occasion of producing a greater value than is consumed 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 recompensed, perhaps, 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 attentive to these, and then the power of rivals, with all their restrain ing and prohibiting acts, cannot much hurt us.

We are sons 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 us fresh strength and vigor to renew the contest.

INFORMATION TO THOSE WHO WOULD RE

MOVE TO AMERICA. MANY persons in Europe have directly or by letters expressed to the writer of this, who is well acquainted with North America, their desire of transporting and establishing themselves in that country, but who appear to have formed, through 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 inproper persons, if he gives some clearer and traer notions of that part of the worid than appear to have hitherto pre: ailed.

He finds it is imagined by numbers, that the inhabitants of North America are rich, capable of rewarding, and dise posed to reward all sorts of ingenuity; that they are at the same time ignorant of all the sciences, and consequeatly that strange:s, pɔssessing talents in the belles-lettres, fine arts, &c. inust be highly esteemed, 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 fuw persons of fumily among them, strangers of birth must be greatly respected, and of course easily obtain the best of those e fices, 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 will imaginations; and those who go tɔ America with expectations founded upon them, will surely find themselves disappointed.

The truth is, that though there are in that country 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 grea: proprietors of the soil, and few tenants; most

.

people cultivate their own lands, or follow some hand icraft or inerchandizo; very few rich enough to live idly upon their rents or incoines, or to pay the high prices gir en in Europe for painting, statues, architecture, and the other works of art that are more curious than useful. Hence the natural geniuses that have arisen in America, with such talents, have uniformly quitted that country for Europe, where they can be more suitably rewarded. It is true that letters and mathematical knowledge are iv esteein there, but they are at the same time more cominon than is apprehended; there being already existing nine colleges or universities, viz: four in New England, and one in each of the pro inces of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Mar; land, and Virginia—all furnished with leamed professors; besides a number of smaller academies: ühese educate many of their youth in the languages, and those sci. ences that qualify men for the professions of divinity, law, er physic. Strangrs, indeed, are by no means excluded from exercising those professions; and the quick increase of inhabitants every where gives them a chance of employ which they have in common with the natives. Of civil offices er employments, there are few; no superfluous 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 expr?ssly in these words: “As every freeman to preserve his independence (if he has not a sufficient estate,) ought to have soine 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 people. Wherefore, where ever an office, through increase of fees or otherwise, becomes so profitable as to 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, to expatriate hiinself in hopes of obtaining a profitable civil office in Ainerica; and as to military offices, they are at an end with the war, the arinies being disbanded. Much less is it advisable for a person to go thi.

« ZurückWeiter »