Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

his enjoyments, having, instead of wheat alone, or wine alone, the use of both wheat and wine.

9. Where the labor and expense of producing both commodities are known to both parties, bargains will generally be fair and equal. Where they are known to one party only, bargains will often be unequal, knowledge taking its advantage of ignorance.

10. Thus, he that carries one thousand bushels of wheat abroad to sell, may not probably obtain so great a profit thereon, as if he had first turned the wheat into manufactures, by subsisting therewith the workmen while producing those manufactures; since there are many expediting and facilitating methods of working, not generally known; and strangers to the manufactures, though they know pretty well the expense of raising wheat, are unacquainted with those short methods of working, and, thence being apt to suppose more labor employed in the manufactures than there really is, are more easily imposed on in their value, and induced to allow more for them than they are honestly worth.*

11. Thus the advantage of having manufactures in a country does not consist, as is commonly supposed, in their highly advancing the value of rough materials,

* The reasons for paying a price are not founded merely upon a computation of the expense of production. A general knowledge of the expense of producing a bushel of corn does not prevent the producer from demanding and the consumer from paying a higher price, when the article is scarce ; nor the consumer from offering and the producer from accepting a lower price, when it is plenty. A proposition bearing a near affinity to that stated in the text seems to be true, namely, that those things which are of general production and habitual consumption, like the common agricultural products, are more likely to bear a market price near to the cost of production, than things of less common production and less regular use, as the article of lace, mentioned in the next section. It may also be generally the case, that the greater the distance of the place of consumption from that of production, the longer an article is likely to be sold at a great profit, since the operation of competition, in bringing down the price, is likely to be slower. — W. Phillips.

of which they are formed; since, though six pennyworth of flax may be worth twenty shillings, when worked into lace, yet the very cause of its being worth twenty shillings is, that, besides the flax, it has cost nineteen shillings and sixpence in subsistence to the manufacturer. But the advantage of manufactures is, that under their shape provisions may be more easily carried to a foreign market; and, by their means, our traders may more easily cheat strangers. * Few, where it is not made, are judges of the value of lace. The importer may demand forty, and perhaps get thirty, shillings for that which cost him but twenty.

12. Finally, there seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbours. This is robbery. The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favor, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry.

* Franklin does not, probably, intend to be literally understood as recommending a system of defrauding foreigners; the benefit he proposes from manufactures does not, by any means, amount to this. Nobody considers it cheating to obtain from a domestic purchaser more for a thing than it costs the vender to make it. The most scrupulous mercantile morality does not proscribe profits. The author has elsewhere stated, that gain is the great motive of commerce. He can only mean what he has elsewhere stated, that the nation exporting manufactures has the means of carrying on a more profitable foreign trade, which it may do as long as there are few competitors in effecting sales. But the other reason mentioned immediately before, in favor of exporting manufactures, namely, that it gives an opportunity of exporting the products of more labor, is of much greater importance than the chance of making extraordinary profits; a chance which has been very much diminished by the diffusion of the manufacturing arts, since this article was written. W. PHILLIPS.

PLAN

FOR BENEFITING DISTANT UNPROVIDED

COUNTRIES.

BY DR. FRANKLIN AND MR. DALRYMPLE."

AUGUST 29, 1771.

The country, called in the maps New Zealand, has been discovered, by the Endeavour, to be two islands, together as large as Great Britain; these islands, named Acpy-nomawée and Tovy-poennammoo, are inhabited by a brave and generous race, who are destitute of corn, fowls, and all quadrupeds, except dogs.

These circumstances being mentioned lately in a company of men of liberal sentiments, it was observed, that it seemed incumbent on such a country as this, to communicate to all others the conveniences of life, which we enjoy.

Dr. Franklin, whose life has ever been directed to promote the true interest of society, said, “ he would with all his heart subscribe to a voyage intended to communicate in general those benefits which we enjoy, to countries destitute of them in the remote parts of the globe.” This proposition being warmly adopted by the rest of the company, Mr. Dalrymple, then present, was induced to offer to undertake the command in such an expedition.

On mature reflection, this scheme appears the most honorable to the national character of any which can be conceived, as it is grounded on the noblest principle of benevolence. Good intentions are often frustrated by

* These proposals were printed upon a sheet of paper, and distributed. The parts written by Dr. Franklin and Mr. Dalrymple are easily distinguished.- B. V.

VOL. II.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

letting them remain undigested; on this consideration, Mr. Dalrymple was induced to put the outlines on paper, which are now published, that, by an early communication, there may be a better opportunity of collecting all the hints which can conduce to execute effectually the benevolent purpose of the expedition, in case it should meet with general approbation. On this scheme being shown to Dr. Franklin, he communicated his sentiments, by way of introduction, to the following effect; “Britain is said to have produced originally nothing but sloes. What vast advantages have been communicated to her by the fruits, seeds, roots, herbage, animals, and arts of other countries' We are, by their means, become a wealthy and a mighty nation, abounding in all good things. Does not some duty hence arise from us towards other countries, still remaining in our former state? “Britain is now the first maritime power in the world. Her ships are innumerable, capable, by their form, size, and strength, of sailing on all seas. Our seamen are equally bold, skilful, and hardy; dexterous in exploring the remotest regions, and ready to engage in voyages to unknown countries, though attended with the greatest dangers. The inhabitants of those countries, our fellow men, have canoes only; not knowing iron, they cannot build ships; they have little astronomy, and no knowledge of the compass to guide them; they cannot therefore come to us, or obtain any of our advantages. From these circumstances, does not some duty seem to arise from us to them? Does not Providence, by these distinguishing favors, seem to call on us, to do something ourselves for the common interest of humanity? “Those who think it their duty to ask bread and other blessings daily from Heaven, would they not think it equally a duty to communicate of those blessings when they have received them, and show their gratitude to their great Benefactor by the only means in their power, promoting the happiness of his other children ?

“Ceres is said to have made a journey through many countries to teach the use of corn, and the art of raising it. For this single benefit the grateful nations deified her. How much more may Englishmen deserve such honor, by communicating the knowledge and use, not of corn only, but of all the other enjoyments the earth can produce, and which they are now in possession of. Communiter bona profundere, Deúm est.

“ Many voyages have been undertaken with views of profit or of plunder, or to gratify resentment; to procure some advantage to ourselves, or do some mischief to others. But a voyage is now proposed, to visit a distant people on the other side the globe; not to cheat them, not to rob them, not to seize their lands, or enslave their persons; but merely to do them good, and make them, as far as in our power lies, to live as comfortably as ourselves.

“It seems a laudable wish, that all the nations of the earth were connected by a knowledge of each other, and a mutual exchange of benefits; but a commercial nation particularly should wish for a general civilization of mankind, since trade is always carried on to much greater extent with people who have the arts and conveniences of life, than it can be with naked savages. We may therefore hope, in this undertaking, to be of some service to our country as well as to those poor people, who, however distant from us, are in truth related to us, and whose interests do, in some degree, concern every one who can say, Homo sum, &c.".

« ZurückWeiter »