ページの画像
PDF
ePub

a well-informed man; and therefore he is only bound to act as well as his knowledge enables him.

Mr. Madison, however, or those who are about him, might know, that until America becomes more populous, until the wages of labour fall, and the use of money is of less value, it will never be a manufacturing country; and that whenever the ports are opened to European goods, the greatest part of those manufactories that are established will fall to decay, as the manufacturers neither can give the long credit, nor sell at the low prices that Europeans can do.

may individually have good eating and drinking, they will not become rich. They will have no market for the surplus produce, and therefore they will have no inducement to produce a surplus. It is when men can find a market for every thing that their labour can produce, that they become industrious, and produce all that they can.

At one time Flanders was a commercial country, and then it was the most wealthy in the north of Europe; Venice and Genoa were rich from the same cause. To Flanders the kings of England sent to borrow nwney on their jewels; and at Bruges, in Flanders, a queen

of France found tbe citizens' wives drest as if they were all queens. Flanders is still a fine country for agriculture: the fields are as fertile as ever; but wealth is fed with commerce, and the queens of Bruges (we speak from our own knowledge) are about as well drest as the queens that sell fruit in Covent-garden.

America has immense advantages if she studies circumstances, but while the breaking in of her land absorbs capital and industry, she can never become a manufacturing country; and after her population has arrived at something like its natural degree, (which will yet be some centuries), it will only be in some parts that manufactures will flourish; for where a country is very fertile, manufactures seldom or never thrive*. The finest and fairest portions of the globe are peopled with a poor and wretched set of inhabitants. Riches and prosperity followed industry; but as a fine soil and climate enable men to live without much exertion, it often happens that where men ought to be best, they are worst; and where they might be expected to be very well, they are frequently in a very indifferent situation. Who, for example, would expect to find in Sweden, and the north of Scotland, most of the comforts of life enjoyed by the inhabitants, and to witness the fields of Egypt, Greece, and Italy, inhabited by squalid wretches, who live in a state little above that of the brute creation; and who, as to moral principles, are degraded infinitely below the savages in the wilds of America*.

* As one example, from Birmingham to Wolverhampton, there is a tract of barren land, some miles in breadth. The country that is barren is full of manufacturers; but on each side, where fertility begins, manufactures cease.

A great difference appears between the aborigines in America, and men in the old world, in the most rude state of society, in the earliest

ages

of which any thing is known. When we consider the little means that rude savages, if left to themselves, have of rising above the state they are in; when we, at the same time, reflect on the history of the early ages, we feel inclined to think that the first spark of philosophy came from heaven.

The fallen state of man was believed in by the ancient heathen philosophers. The Platonists, Stoics, and Pythagoreans, all believed something of such an event. Amongst rude men of the newly discovered world, we find nothing similar; we do not even find that disposition to civilization which was evident in the earliest ages, amongst the Egyptians and Assyrians.

Why we should be so surprised at the manner of America being peopled, when it is only at one part separated from Asia by a strait of about 75 miles, and yet never trouble ourselves about the popu. lation of islands in the great South Sea, is very strange. It shews that men of research are as capricious, or as inconsiderate as other

The scripture history, without insisting at all on its sacred origin, gives so natural an account of the manners of mankind, in a world not near fully peupled, that there can be no sort of doubt as

men.

The Americans will do well to learn from the

experience of the ancient world, which, if properly used, is to them a most invaluable inheritance; but if they have the vanity to imagine that they can otherwise escape the dangers and inconveniences that attend men in a numerous society, they will be greatly mistaken. The thin state of society in America makes it so different from most countries in Europe, that in customs, manners, and above all, the nature of government, there is a great difference.

With us, land is the most valuable of possessions; and the labour of men is comparatively of little value. We are too many for the ground we occupy; they are too few.

to its authenticity; and indeed it does not, in that respect, differ from the most authentic of the prophane historians. The emigration of the patriarchal families from one part of the country to another; their journey to Egypt to escape a fainine; and their settling in Palestine; are all proofs of the uninhabited state of many parts of the world. The city of Carthage was founded by a colony that settled from a distance, and the Romans in Italy were strangers. None of those events and they are all similar) would have happened in a world fully peopled. It is consequently clear, that about 1200 years before the Christian era, the world was in many parts nearly desert. It was therefore not very ancient at that time; yet what laste, what arts, science, and philosophy! How unlike the American tribes. We cannot reasonably consider this and doubt that some knowledge came from a superior source.

It is in America that posterity will see how rapidly a new people adopts the errors of those who have gone before, when those errors happen to conduce to present conveniency. We see the borrowing system adopted in America, though the nations of the old world carried on wars for two thousand years, without that means. It is not then necessity that obliges the Americans to adopt the plan, it is conveniency; and if Mr. Madison lives long, and has his way, that country will be barthened in a heavier

way
than

any country in Europe. There are many sources of revenue in a wellpeopled country, that, in one thinly inhabited, are found to be quite unproductive. Many taxes that are found to answer in England, would not pay for their collection in America, so that the pressure

of debt will there be felt with double severity.

The American war will answer one good purpose; it will shew the Americans the difference of fighting in a good, and in a bad cause. When the Americans fought for liberty, they did wonders. Now that they fight for a faction, their efforts are contemptible, for we are not to attribute their success at sea to their bravery, but to the great number of

« 前へ次へ »