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to attain. Vain regrets will only waste your spirits and destroy your health, and therefore I hope you will not give way to them. But one lesson I trust you will take for the direction of your future conduct, from this stroke of calamity, and that is, to confine your views to objects within your easy reach. £4000 sterling will make a bachelor independent; and for the love of God, if you can by any means squeeze this sum out of the wreck of your fortunes, endeavour to insure it, by placing it out on some security in Britain, where the principal will be safe, and the interest paid every half year.
The wretched condition in which the States of America appear, both as to private security and national honour, absolutely prevents your having a solid property in that country, which shall bring you an income. Your scheme of vesting your
funds in houses, was, I think, the best that could be devised; the contingency of fire was all you had to fear. In England you might have been insured against this for 2 per cent. on your rent, and the insurers of this country would formerly have written on American property, at a proper premium ; but at present I do not believe it would be possible for you to get your houses insured from fire in London at any premium whatever. Here, then, is the serious grievance under which you labour. If you get property in land, it pays no interest ; if in debts, you have neither principal nor interest, and if in houses, though you may have an appearance of both to-day, yet you cannot be secured against the treachery or the accident that, before the morning's sun, may consume your property to ashes.
There appears to me only one remedy, and that is, as far as circumstances will permit, to transmit, by degrees, some part of your property to England, where it may be admirably secured, and made to produce you an interest, paid with the utmost punctuality, that in the course of fourteen years will double your principal.
The Dutch, the most knowing nation in the world in money transactions, are fully aware of the superiority of English public and private security to that of every other nation on earth, and accordingly it is computed that they have not less than fifty millions sterling in the English funds. Would to God your accumulations had been gradually deposited there! they would have brought 5 per cent. per annum, and the principal would have augmented 40 per cent. besides. Since Mr. Pitt came into power, every 10001. in the funds has been increased to 14501., besides paying regular interest. What, then,
should hinder you from endeavouring to vest your property in something that may make a remittance? If you could send over only eight or ten hogsheads of tobacco annually, the proceeds might gradually accumulate; and if you chose to have annual value for the interest, it might be regularly shipped. At any
you might draw for the whole principal with great advantage, or if it remained in this country, it would make you secure retreat at all times from the unhappy country in which you are placed.
Such a scheme as I have mentioned has perhaps never been tried by any man in America, though it is common in the West Indies, and more especially in the East Indies; and this is the reason why fortunes have been rapidly made by adventurers to both Indies, while those to America have seldom or never made any thing in the end. I repeat it again, you cannot vest your earnings in any species of property in America that will give you a secure principal, a steadily paid interest, and is at the same time a property, that can be speedily converted into money, to meet the various fortunate contingencies that may
All this may be done by making gradual remittances to England, though even at an apparent loss. See the state of
See the state of your friend Mr. He has, I am told, a nominal property
in America of half a million of dollars. A
property in England of 5000l. sterling, would make á much richer man; as it is, he could not at present have credit on the score of his American possessions for 2001. in any town in Europe ; but with 5000l. sterling in this country, and a good character, he would be trusted for 40,000l. or 60,000). Consider all this, my good friend, for many serious truths may be deduced from these facts. If you can get any thing into England at present, you may consider it as clear gain. The progress of time has evinced many important truths. Britain never depended for her prosperity, in any degree, on America. America, it may be truly said, though blessed with advantages which may in the end render her really independent, has risen to her late premature greatness, solely from sheltering under the wing of the parent state.
This is harsh language to an American ear, that till lately has only been accustomed to the gratulations of flattery, but it is such as must now be attended to, however unwelcome. British property, British commerce, and British character, though they suffered a temporary diminution during the contest with America, have, since the separation of the colonies, risen to a degree of splendour before unknown. Of the States of America the reverse is
exactly true; they came out of the war with a degree of consequence, which success had cast around them, but every year has lessened their reputation, and they are now sunk very low in character and credit in every court and country of Europe. This degradation is not entirely, though principally, to be imputed to their misconduct. The misfortunes entailed on the EnglishAmericans by the general breach of public and private engagements, will in the end produce reformation, and of course fortune and happiness: but these effects are to be looked for in the “ womb of futurity," and long after the present generation has passed away. Look, on the other hand, at the state of Britain. Stripped of thirteen colonies, and involved in 150 millions sterling of an additional debt by the war with, and the revolution of, America, she found herself at the commencement of the peace obliged to perpetuate all the war taxes, and, moreover, to lay on additional burdens to the amount of three millions and a half sterling annually. The oldest statesman deemed the thing impracticable. Mr. Pitt thought otherwise. By great, vigorous, and radical reforms in the collection of every branch of revenue, by an alteration in the system of taxation, as far as the times would admit, by a rigid and exact economy in every line of expenditure,