Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in hiin. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do. If a parent could find no motive either in his philanthropy or his self love, for restraining the intemperance of passion towards his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that his child is present. But generally it is not sufficient. The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to the worst of passions, and thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious peculiarities. The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances. And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patriæ of the other. For if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labour for another; in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavours to the evanishment of the human race, or entail his own rniserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him. With the inorals of the people, their industry also is destroyed. For in a warm climate, no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seen to labour. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firin basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath ? Indeed I trernble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever: that considering num

bers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation is among possible events : that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The alınighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest. But it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, ot' morals, of history natural and civil. We must be contented to hope they will force their way into every one's mind. I think a change already perceptible, since the origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their extirpation.

QUERY XIX.

The present state of manufactures, commerce, interior and exterior trade?

We never had an interior trade of any importance. Our exterior commerce has suffered very much from the beginning of the present contest. During this time we have manufactured within our families the most necessary articles of clothing. Those of cotton will bear some comparison with the same kinds of manufacture in Europe; but those of wool, flax and hemp are very coarse, unsightly, and unpleasant: and such is our attachment to agriculture, and such our preference for foreign manufactures, that be it wise or unwise, our people will certainly return as soon as they can, to the raising raw materials, and exchanging them for finer manufactures than they are able to execute themselves.

The political economists of Europe have established it as a principle that every state should endeavour to ma

nufacture for itself: and this principle, like many others, we transfer to America, without calculating the difference of circumstance which should often produce a difference of result. In Europe the lands are either cultivated, or locked up against the cultivator. Manufacturc must therefore be resorted to of necessity not of choice, to support the surplus of their people. But we have an immensity of land courting the industry of the husbandman. Is it best then that all our citizens should be employed in its improvement, or that one half should be called off from that to exercise manufac. tures and handicraft arts for the other? Those who labour in the earth are the chosen people of God, if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he has made his peculiar deposite for substantial and genuine virtue. It is the focus in which he keeps alive that sacred fire, which otherwise might escape from the face of the earth. Corruption of morals in the mass of cultivators is a phænomenon of which no age nor nation has furnished an example. It is the mark set on those, who not looking up to heaveu, to their own soil and industry, as does the busbandman, for their subsistence, depend for it ou casualties and caprice of customers. Dependence begets subservience and venality, suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares fit tools for the designs of ambition. This, the natural progress and consequence of the arts, has sometimes perhaps been retarded by accidental circumstances : but, generally speaking, the proportion which the aggregate of the other classes of citizens bears in any state to that of its husbandmen, is the proportion of its unsound to its healthy parts, and is a good enough barometer whereby to measure its degree of corruption. While we have land to labour chen, let us never wish to see our citizens occupied at a work-bench, or twirling a distaff. Carpenters, niasons, smiths, are wanting in husbandry: but, for the general operations of manufacture, let our workshops remain in Europe. It is better to carry provisions and materials to workmen there, than bring them to the provisions and materials, and with them

their manners and principles. The loss by the transportation of commodities across the Atlantic will be made up in happiness and permanence of goverument. The mobs of great cities add just so much to the support of pure government, as sores do to the strength of the human body. It is the manners and spirit of a people which preserve a republic in vigour. A degeneracy in these is a canker which soon eats to the heart of its laws and constitution.

QUERY XX.

A Notice of the commercial productions particular to the state, and of those objects which the inhabitants are obliged to get from Europe and from other parts of the world?

Before the present war we exported, communibus annis, according to the best information I can get, nearly as follows:

15*

}

Articles.

Quantity.

Price in Dollars. Am't in Dolls. Tobacco,

55,000 hhds. of 1000 lb. at 30 d. per hhd. 1,650,000 Wheat,

800,000 bushels

ată d. per bush.

666,6663
Indian corn,

600,000 bushels

at $d. per bush.

200,000
Shipping,

100,000
Masts, planks, scantling, shin-
gles, staves,

66,6663
Tar, pitch, turpentine,

30,000 barrels,

at 1} d. per bar. 40,000 Peltry, viz. skins of deer, beavers, otters, muskrats, ra

180 bhds. of 600 lb. at 5 d. per lb. 42,000 coons, foxes, Pork,

4,000 barrels,

at 10 d. per bar. 40,000 Flax-seed, hemp, cotton,

8.400
Pit-coal, pig-iron,

1,6663
5,000 bushels,

at d. per bush. 3,333}
Beef,

1,000 barrels,

a 3} d. per bar. 3,333}
Sturgeon, white shad, herring,

3,3333
Brandy from peaches and ap-
ples, and whiskey,

1,6663
Horses,

1,6663 This sum is equal to 850,0001. Virginia money,

607,142 guineas.

| 2,833,333}dls.

Peas,

« AnteriorContinuar »