Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

believe, when you find that to be impossible, on any terms given you to propose, you will then relinquish so odious a command, and return to a more honourable private station.

With the greatest and most sincere respect, I have the honour to be,

My lord,
Your lordship’s most obedient, humble servant, :

B. FRANKLIN*.

Comparison

ܪ

* It occurs to me to mention that Dr. Franklin was supposed to have been the inventor of a little emblematical ilesign at the commencement of our disputes, representing the state of Great Britain and her colonies, should the former, persist in restraining the latter's trade, destroying their currency, and taxing their people by laws made by a legislature in which they were not represented.--Great Britain was supposed to have been placed upon the globe: but the culonies, her limbs, being sepered from her, she was seen lifting her eyes and mangled stumps to heaven; her shield, which she was unable to wield, lay useless by her side; ber lance had pierced New England ; the laurel branch was fallen from the hand of Pensylvania ; tbe English oak had lost its head, and stood a bare trunk with a few withered branches; briars and thorns were on the ground beneath it; our ships had brooms at their topmast heads, denoting their being upon sale; and the Britannia herself was seen sliding off the world, no longer able to hold its balance; her fragments overspread with the label date obolum Belisario.-This, in short, was the fable of the belly, and the members reversed. But I tell the story chiefly for the sake of the moral, which has the air of having been suggested by Dr. Franklin*; and is as follows.„.. The political moral of this picture is now easily discovered. History affords us mang instances of the ruin of states, by the prosecution of measures ill suited to the temper and genius of its people. The ordailos Comparison of Great Britain and America as to Credit, in 1797*.

This design was printed on a card, and Dr. Franklin at the time I he lieve occasionally used to write his notes on such cards. It was also printed on a half sheet of paper, with an explanation by some other person, and the Doral giyen above. The drawing was but moderately executed.

2 B9

រំ ing

IN borrowing money a man's credit depends on some or all of the following particulars.

First, His known conduct respecting former loans, and his punctuality in discharging them.

Secondly, His industry.
Thirdly, His frugality.

Fourthly, The amount and the certainty of his income, and the freedom of his estate from the incumbrances of prior debts.

Fifthly, His well founded prospects of greater ability, by the improvement of his estate in value, and by aids from others.

greater future

ing of laws in favour of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and op pression of another, is certainly the most erroneous aud mistaken policy, An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is intitled to, and ought to enjoy ; it being a matter of no moment to the state, whether a subject grows rich and flourishing on the Thames or the Ohio, in Edinburgh or Dublin. These measures never fail to create great and violent jealousies and animosities between the people favoured and the people oppressed; from whence a total separation of affections, interests, political obligations, and all manner of connections, necessarily ensues ; by which the whole state is weakened and perhaps ruined for ever."

This language is part of the same system with the following fragment of a sentence, which Dr. Franklin inserted in a political publication of one of his friends. “ The attempts to establish arbitrury power over so great a part of the British empire, Care] to the imminent hazard of our most value able commerce, and of that national strength, security, and felicity, which depend on union and liberty;"--Tke preservation of which, I am told, he used to say, bad been the great object and labour of his life; the whole being such a thing as the world before never saw." B. V.

* This paper was written, translated, printed, and circulated, while Dr. Franklin was at the court of Paris, for the purpose of inducing foreigners to lend money to America in preference to Great Britain.

Sixthly,

Sixthly, His known prudence in managing his general affairs, and the advantage they will probably receive from the loan which he desires.

Seventhly, His known probity and honest character, manifested by his voluntary discharge of debts, which he could not have been legally compelled to pay. The circumstances which give credit to an individual ought to have, and will have, their weight upon the lenders of money to public bodies or nations. If then we consider and compare Britain and America, in these several particulars, upon the question, “To which is it safest to lend money?" We shall find,

1. Respecting former loans, that America, which borrowed ten millions during the last war for the maintenance of her army of 25,000 men and other charges, had faithfully discharged and paid that debt, and all her other debts, in 1772. Whereas Britain, during those ten years of peace and profitable commerce had made little or no reduction of her debt; but on the contrary, from time to time, diminished the hopes of her creditors, by'a wanton diversion and misapplicatiou of the sinking fund destined for discharging it.

2. Respecting industry; every man [in America] is employed, the greater part in cultivating their own lands, the rest in liandicrafts, navigation, and commerce. An idle man there is a rarity; idleness and inutility are disgraceful. In England, the number of that character is immense, fashion has spread it farand wide; hence the embarrasments of private fortunes, and the daily bankruptcies arising from an universal fondness for appearance and expensive pleasures ; and hence, 'in some degree, the mismanagement of public business; for habits of business, and ability in it, are 2 B3

acquired

acquired only by practice ? and where universal dissipation, and the perpetual pursuit of amusement are the mode, the youth, educated in it, can rarely afterwards acquire that patient attention and close application to affairs, which are so necessary to a statesman charged with the care of national welfare. Hence their frequent errors in policy, and hence the weariyess at public councils, and backwardness in going to them, the constant unwillingness to engage in any measures that requires thought and consideration, and the readiness for postponing every dew proposition ; which postponing is therefore the only part of business that they come to be expert in, an expertness produced necessarily by so much daily practice. Whereas in America, men bred to close employment in their private affairs, attend with ease to those of the public, when engaged in them, and nothing fails through negligence.

3. Respecting frugality; the manner of living in America is more simple and less expensive than that in England: plain tables, plain clothing, and plain furniture in houses prevail, with few carriages of pleasure ; there, an expensive appearance hurts credit, and is avoided : in England, it is often assumed to gain credit, and continued to ruin. Respecting public affairs, the difference is still greater. In England, the salaries of officers, and emoluments of office, are enormous. The king has a million sterling per annum, and yet cannot maintain his family free of debt ; secretaries of state, lords of treasury, admiralty, &c. have vast appointments: an auditor of the exchequer has sixpence in the pound, or a fortieth part of all the public money expended by the nation; so that when a war costs forty millions one inillion is paid to him ; an inspector

of the

mint, in the last new colnage, received as his fee 65,000). sterling per annum; to all which rewards no service these gentlemen can render the public is by any means equivalent. All this is paid by the people, who are oppressed by taxes so occasioned, and thereby rendered less able to contribute to the payment of necessary national debts. In America, salaries, where indis. pensible, are extremely low; but much of the public business is done gratis. The honour of serving the public ably and faithfully is deemed sufficient. Public spirit really exists there, and has great effects. In England it is universally deemed a non-entity, and whoever pretends to it is laughed at as a fool, or suspected as a knave. The committees of congress which forin the board of war, the board of treasury, the board of foreign affairs, the naval board, that for accounts, &c. all attend the business of their respective functions, without any salary or emolument whatever, though they spend in it much more of their time than any lord of treasury or admiralty in England can spare from his amusements. A British minister lately computed, that the whole expence of the Americans, in their civil government over three millions of people amounted to but 70,0001. sterling, and drew from thence a conclusion, that they ought to be taxed, until their expence was equal in proportion to that which it costs Britain to govern eight millions. He had no idea of a contrary conclusion, that if three millions may be well governed for 70,000f. eight millions may be as well governed for three times that sum, and that therefore the expence of his own government should be diminished. In that corrupted nation no man is ashamed of being concerned in lucrative government jobs, in which the public money is

2 B 4

egre

« ZurückWeiter »