Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

What then occasions so much want and misery?. It is the employment of men and women in works that produce neither the necessaries nor conveniences of life; who with those who do nothing, consume the necessaries raised by the laborious. To explain this,

The first elements of wealth are obtained by labour from the earth and waters. I have land, and raise corn; with this I feed a family that does nothing, my corn will be consumed, and at the end of the year I shall be no richer than I was at the beginning. But if, while I feed them, I employ them, some in spinning, others in hewing timber and sawing boards, others in making bricks, &c. for building ; the value of my corn will be arrested, and remain with me, and at the end of the year we may all be better clothed and better lodged. And if instead of employing a man I feed, in making bricks, I employ him in fiddling for me, the corn he eats is gone, and no part of his manufacture remains to augment the wealth and the conveniences of the family; I shall therefore be the poorer for this fiddling man, unless the rest of my family work more or eat less to make up the deficiency he occasions.

Look round the world and see the millions employed in doing nothing, or in something that amounts to nothing, when the necessaries and conveniences of life are in question. What is the bulk of commerce for which we fight and destroy each other, but the toil of millions for superfluities, to the great hazard and loss of many lives by the constant dangers of the sea? How much labour spent; in building and fitting great , ships to go to China and Arabia for tea and for coffee; to the West Indies for sugar, to America for tobacco! These things cannot be

VOL. I.

called the necessaries of life, for our ancestors lived very comfortably without them.

A question may be asked, could all these people now employed in raising, making, or carrying superfluities, be subsisted by raising necessaries ? I think they might. The world is large, and a great part of it still uncultivated, Many hundred millions of aeres in Asia, Africa, and America, are still forest, and a great deal even in Europe. On 100 acres of this forest, a man might become a substantial farmer, and 100,000 men employed in clearing each his 100 acres, (instead of being, as they are, French hair-dressers) would hardly brighten a spot big enough to be visible from the moon, (unless with Herschell's telescope,) so vast are the regions still in the world unimproved.

'Tis however some comfort to reflect that upon the whole the quantity of industry and prudence among mankind, exceeds the quantity of idleness and folly. Hence the increase of good buildings, farms cultivated, and populous cities filled with wealth all over Europe, which a few ages since were only to be found on the coasts of the Mediterranean. And this, notwithstanding the mad wars continually raging, by which are often destroyed in one year the works of many years' peace. So that we may hope the luxury of a few merchants on the sea coast will not be the ruin of America. i

One'reflection more and I will end this long rambling letter. Almost all the parts of our bodies require some expense. The feet demand shoes, the legs stockings, the rest of the body clothing, and the belly a good deal of victuals. Our eyes, though exceedingly useful, ask when reasonable only the cheap assistance of spectacles, which could not much impair our finances. But the eyes of 1 OTHER PEOPLE are the eyes that ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want neither fine clothes, fine houses, nor fine furniture. Adieu, my dear friend. I am yours ever,

B. FRANKLIN.,

o cvel,

· P. S. This will be delivered to you by my grandson. I am persuaded you will afford him your civilities and counsels. Please to accept a little present of books, I send by him, curious for the beauty of the impression.

To De. Price:
Balloons.- English Constitution. --State of America.
Dear Friend, Passy, August 16, 1784.

...: I some time since answered your kind letter of July 12, returning the proof of Mr. Turgot's letter, with the permission of his friends to print it. I hope it came safe to hand. ;

I had before received your of April which gave me great pleasure, as it acquainted me with your welfare, and that of Dr. Priestley

The commencement here of the art of Aying will, as you observe, be a new epoch. The construction and manner of filling the balloons improves daily. Some of the artists have lately gone to England. It will be well for your philosophers to obtain from them what they kuow, or you will be behind hand; which in mechanic operations is unusual for Englishmen. .

I hope the disagreements in our Royal Society are composed : quarrels often disgrace both sides; and disputes even on small matters often produce quarrels for

want of knowing how to differ decently; an art which 'tis said scarce any body possesses but yourself and Dr. Priestley.

I had indeed thoughts of visiting England once more, and of enjoying the great pleasure of seeing again my friends there; but my malady, otherwise tolerable, is I find irritated by the motion in a carriage, and I fear the consequence of such a journey; yet I am not quite resolved against it. I often think of the agreeable evenings I used to pass with that excellent collection of good men, the club at the London, and wish to be again among them. Perhaps I may pop in soine Thursday evening when they least expect me. You may well believe it very pleasing to me to have Dr. Priestley associated with me among the foreign members of the Academy of Sciences. I had mentioned him upon every vacancy that has happened since my residence here, and the place has never been bestowed more worthily.

When you wrote the letter I am now answering, your nation was involved in the confusion of your new election. When I think of your present crazy constitution and its diseases, I imagine the enormous emoluments of place to be among the greatest, and while they exist I doubt whether ever the reform of your representation will cure the evils constantly arising from your perpetual factions. As it seems to be a settled point at present that the minister must govern the Parliament, who are to do every thing he would have done; and he is to bribe them to do this, and the people are to furnish the money to pay these bribes. The Parliament appears to me a very expensive machine for government, and I apprehend the people will find out in time that they may as well be governed, and that it will be much cheaper to be governed by the minister alone; no Parliament being preferable to the present.

Your newspapers are full of fictitious accounts of distractions in America. We know nothing of them. Mr. Jefferson, just arrived here, after a journey through all the States from Virginia to Boston, assures me that all is quiet, a general tranquillity reigns, and the people well satisfied with their present forms of government, a few insignificant persons only excepted. These accounts are I suppose intended as consolatory, and to discourage emigrations. I think with you, that our revolution is an important event for the advantage of mankind in general. It is to be hoped that the lights we enjoy, which the ancient governments in their first establishment could not have, may preserve us from their errors. In this the advice of wise friends may do much good, and I am sure that which you have been so kind as to offer us will be of great service.

Mr. Jay is gone to America; but Mr. Adams is just arrived here, and I shall acquaint him with your remembrance of him.

Many thanks for your kind wishes respecting my health and happiness, which I return fourfold, being ever with the sincerest esteem, my dear friend, your most affectionate .. . .'.".

B. FRANKLIN !

To The Right Hon. Lord VI$count Howe. On receiving Capt. Cook's Voyage, by order of the King. My Lord,

Passy, August 18, 1784. . .. I received lately the very valuable voyage of the late Captain Cook, kindly sent to me by your Lordship, in consideration of my good-will in issuing orders towards

« ZurückWeiter »