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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, Deûm 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."
Scheme of a voyage by subscription, to convey the conveniences of life, as fowls, hogs, goats, cattle, corn, iron, &c., to those remote regions, which are destitute of them, and to bring from thence such productions, as can be cultivated in this kingdom, to the advantage of society, in a ship under the command of Alexander Dalrymple.
Catt or bark, from the coal trade, of 350 tons,
estimated at about
Extra expenses, stores, boats, &c.
To be manned with sixty men at £4 per man
The expenses of this expedition are calculated for three years; but the greatest part of the amount of wages will not be wanted till the ship returns, and a great part of the expense of provisions will be saved by what is obtained in the course of the voyage, by barter or otherwise, though it is proper to make provision for contingencies.
THE PROVISION MADE IN CHINA AGAINST FAMINE.*
I HAVE Somewhere read, that, in China, an account is yearly taken of the number of people, and the quantities of provision produced. This account is transmitted to the emperor, whose ministers can thence foresee a scarcity, likely to happen in any province, and from what province it can best be supplied in good time. To facilitate the collecting of this account, and prevent the necessity of entering houses and spending time in asking and answering questions, each house is furnished with a little board, to be hung without the door during a certain time each year; on which board are marked certain words, against which the inhabitant is to mark the number and quantity, somewhat in this manner;
Rice or Wheat,
All under sixteen are accounted children, and all above men and women. Any other particulars, which the government desires information of, are occasionally marked on the same boards. Thus the officers, appointed to collect the accounts in each district, have only to pass before the doors, and enter into their book
* Taken from Dr. Percival's Essays, (Vol. III. p. 25,) being an extract from a letter written to him by Dr. Franklin, on the subject of his Observations on the state of population in Manchester and other adjacent places. B. V.
what they find marked on the board, without giving the least trouble to the family. There is a penalty on marking falsely; and, as neighbours must know nearly the truth of each other's account, they dare not expose themselves, by a false one, to each other's accusation. Perhaps such a regulation is scarcely practicable with us.