« PreviousContinue »
enough*, I cannot think Guadaloupe is so desirable an increase of it, as other objects the enemy would probably be infinitely more ready to part with. A country, fully inhabited by any nation, is no proper possession for another of different languages, manners, and religion, It is hardly ever tenable at less expence than it is worth. But the isle of Cayenne, and its appendix, Equinoctial-France, having but very few inhabitants, and these therefore easily removed, would indeed be an acquisition every way suitable to our situation and desires. This would hold all that migrate from Barbadoes, the Leeward Islands, or Jamaica. It would certainly recal into an English government in which there would be room for millions) all who have before settled or purchased in Martinico, Guadaloupe, SantaCruz, or St. John's; except such as know not the value of an English government, and such I am sure are not worth recalling.
But should we keep Guadaloupe, we are told it would enable us to erport 200,0001. in sugars. Admit it to be true, though perhaps the amazing increase of English consumption might stop most of it here,-to whose profit is this to redound ? To the profit of the French inhabitants of the island: except a small part, that should fall to the share of the English purchasers, but whose whole purchase-money must first be added-to the wealth
. It is often said we have plenty of sugar-land still unemployed in Jamaica: but those who are well acquainted with that island know, that the remaining vacant land in it is generally situated among mountains, rocks, and gullies, that make carriage impracticable, so that no profitable use can be made of it; unless the price of sugars should so greatly increase, as to enable the planter to make very expensive roads, by blowing up rocks, erecting bridges, &c. every two or three hundred yards. [Our author was somewhat misinformped here. B. V.]
and circulation of France. I grant, however, much of this 300,0001. would be expended in British manufactures. Perhaps too, a few of the land-owners of Guadaloupe might dwell and spend their fortunes in Britain (though probably much fewer than of the inhabitants of North America.) I admit the advantage arising to us from these circumstances (as far as they go) in the case of Guadaloupe, as well as in that of our other West-India settlements. Yet even this consumption is little better than that of an allied nation would be, who should take our manufactures and supply us with sugar, and put us to no great expence in defending the place of growth. But though our own colonies expend among us almost the whole produce of our sugar*, can we, or ought we to promise ourselves this will be the case of Guadaloupe? One 100,0001. will supply them with British manufactures; and supposing we can effectually prevent the introduction of those of France (which is morally impossible in a country used to them) the other 200,0001. will still be spent in France, in the education of their children and support of themselves; or else be laid
up there, where they will always think their home to be.
Besides this consumption of British manufactures, much is said of the benefit we shall have from the situation of Guadaloupe ; and we are told of a trade to the Caraccas and Spanish Main. In what respect Guadaloupe is better situated for this trade than Jamaica, or even any
of our other islands, I am at a loss to guess. I believe it to be not so well situated for that of the windward coast, as Tobago and St. Lucia; which in this, as
well as other respects, would be more valuable possessions, and which, I doubt no!, the peace will secure to us. Nor is it nearly so well situated for that of the rest of the Spanish Main as Jamaica. As to the greater safety of our trade by the possession of Guadaloupe, experience has convinced us, that in reducing a single island, or even more, we stop the privateering business but little. Privateers still subsist, in equal if not greater numbers, and carry the vessels into Martinico, which before it was more convenient to carry into Guadaloupe. Had we all the Caribbees, it is true, they would in those parts be without shelter.
Yet, upon the whole, I suppose it to be a doubtful point, and well worth consideration, whether our obtaining possession of all the Caribbees would be more than a temporary benefit; as it would necessarily soon fill the French part of Hispaniola with French inbabitants, and thereby render it five times more valuable in time of peace, and little less than impregnable in time of war, and would probably end in a few years in the uniting the whole of that great and fertile island under a French government. It is agreed on all hands, that our conquest of St. Christopher's, and driving the French from thence, first furnished Hispaniola with skilful and substantial planters, and was consequently the first occasion of its present opulence. On the other hand, I will hazard an opinion, that valuable as the French possessions in the West Indies are, and undeniable the advantages they derive from them, there is somewhat to be weighed in the opposite scale. They cannot at present make war with England, without exposing those advantages, while divided among the pumerous islands they now have, much more than they
would, were they possessed of St. Domingo only; their own share of which would, if well cultivated, grow more sugar,
than is now grown in all their West-India islands.
I have before said, I do not deny the utility of the conquest, or even of our future possession of Guadaloupe, if not bought too dear. The trade of the West Indies is one of our most valuable trades. Our possessions there deserve our greatest care and attention. So do those of North America. I shall not enter into the invidious task of comparing their due estimation. It would be a very long, and a very disagreeable one, to run through every thing material on this head. It is enough to our present point, if I have shown, that the value of North America is capable of an immense increase, by an acquisition and measures, that must necessarily have an effect the direct contrary of what we have been industriously taught to fear; and that Guadaloupe is, in point of advantage, but a very small addition to our WestIndia possessions; rendered many ways less valuable to us, than it is to the French, who will probably set more value upon it, than upon a country (Canada] that is much more valuable to us than to them,
There is a great deal more to be said on all the parts of these subjects; but as it would carry me into a detail, that I fear would tire the patience of my readers, and which I am not without apprehensions I have done already, I shall reserve wbat remains till I dare venture again on the indulgence of the public *.
* Dr. Franklin has often been heard to say, that in writing this pamph, * let he received considerable assistance from a learned frici d, who was not willing to be named. B. V.
Remarks and Facts relative to the American Paper-money.*
IN the Report of the Board of Trade, dated Feb. 9, 1764, the following reasons are given for restraining the emission of paper-bills of credit in America, as a legal tender.
1. “ That it carries the gold and silver out of the province, and so ruins the country; as experience has shewn, in every colony where it has been practised in any great degree.
2. “ That the merchants trading to America have suffered and lost by it.
3. “ That the restriction (of it] has had a beneficial effect in New England.
4. “ That every medium of trade should have an intrinsic value, which paper-money has not. Gold and silver are therefore the fittest for this medium, as they are an equivalent; which paper never can be. .
5. “ That debtors in the assemblies make paper-money with fraudulent views.
6. “ That in the middle colonies, where the credit of the paper-money has been best supported, the bills
* The best account I can give of the occasion of the Report, to which this paper is a reply, is as follows. During the war there had been a considerable and unusual trade to America, in consequence of the great fleets and armies on foot there, and the clandestine dealings with the enemy, who were cut off from their own supplies. This made great debts. The briskness of the trade ceasing with the war, the merchants were anxious for payment, which occasioned some confusion in the colonies, and stirred up a clamour here against paper-money. The board of trade, of which lord Hilsborough was the chief, joined in this opposition to paper-money, as appears by the report. Dr. Franklin being asked to draw up an answer to their report, wrote the paper given above, B. V.