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occasioned the journey, etc. Conrad answered all his
questions; and when the discourse began to flag, the Indian, to continue it, said, Conrad you have lived long among the white people, and know something of their cu. stoms; I have been sometimes at Albany, and have observed, that once in seven days they shut up their shops, and assemble all in the great house; tell me what it is for? What do they do there?, "They meet there, , says Conrad, “to hear and learn good things.., . ;«I do not doubt, " says the Indian, " that they tell you so; they have told me the same: but I doubt the truth of what they say, and I will tell you my reasons. I went lately to Albany to sell my skins and buy blankets, knives, powder rum, etc. You know I used generally to deal with Hans Hanson; but I was a little inclined this time to try some other merchants. However, I called first upon Hans, and asked him what he would give for beaver. He said he could not give more than four shillings a pound: but, says he, I cannot talk on business now; this is the day when we meet together to learn good things, and I am going to the meeting. So I thought to myself, since I cannot do any business today, I may as well go to the meeting too, and I went with him. There stood up a man in black, and began to talk to the people very angrily. I did not understand what he said; but perceiving that he looked ninch at me, and at Hanson, I imagined he was angry at seeing me there; 'so I went out, sat down near the house, strąck fire, and lit my pipe, waiting till the meeting shonld break up. I thought too, that the man had mentioned something of beaver, and I suspected it might be the subject of their meeting. So when they came out I accosted my merchant, Well, Hans, says J, I hope you have agreed to give niore than four' shíllings a pound ? No, says he, I cannot give so much, 1 cannot give more than three shillings and sixpence. I then spoke to several other dealers, but they all sung the same song, three and sixpence, three and sixpence. This made it clear to me that my suspicion was right; and that whatever they pretended of meeting to learn good things, the real purpose was to consult how to cheat Indians in the price of beaver. Consider but a little, Con. rad, and you must be of my opinion. If they met so often to learn good things, they would certainly have learned some before this time. But they are still ignorant. You know our practice.
If a white man,
in travelling through our country, enters one of our cabins, we all treat him as I do you; we dry him if he is wet, we warm him if he is cold, and give him meat and drink, that he may allay his thirst and hunger; and we spread soft furs for him to rest and sleep on: we demand nothing in return *). But if I go into a white man's house at Albany, *) It is remarkable, that in all ages and countries, hospitality bas been?
allowed as the virtue of those, whom the civilized were pleased to
and ask for victuals and drink, they say, Where is your money? and if I have none, they say, Get out you Indian dog. You see they have not yet learned those little good things, that we need no meetings to be instructed in, because our mothers taught them to us when we were children; and therefore it is impossible their meetings should be, as they say, for any such purpose, or have any such effect; they are only to contrive the cheating of Indians in the price of beaver..
THE INTERNAL STATE OF AMERICA; being a true Description of the Interest and
Policy of that vast Continent. 1784.
There is a tradition, that, in the planting of New-Eng. Jand, the Grst settlers met with many difficulties and hardships; as is generally the case when a civilized people attempt establishing themselves in a wilderness country. Being piously disposed they songht relief from Heaven, by laying their wants and distresses before the Lord, in frequent set days of fasting and prayer. Constant meditation and discourse on these subjects kept their minds gloomy and discontented; and like the children of Israel, there were many disposed to return to that Egypt, which persecution had induced them to abandon. At length, when it was proposed in the assembly to proclaim another fast, a farmer of plain sense rose, and remarked, that the inconveniences they suffered, and concerning which they had so often wearied heaven with their complaints, were not so great as they might have expected, and were diminishing every day as the colony strengthened; that the earth began to reward their labour, and to furnish liberally for their subsistence; that the seas and rivers were found full of fish, the air sweet, the climate healthy; and, above all, that they were there in the full enjoyment of liberty, civil and religious: he therefore thought, that reflecting and conversing on these subjects would be more comfortable, as tending more to make them contented with their situation; and that it would be more becoming the gratitude they owed to the Divine
call Barbarians. The Greeks celebrated the Scythians for it, the Saracens possessed it eminently; and it is to this day the reigning vir tue of the wild Arabs. St. Paul too, in the relation of his voyage and shipwreck, on the island of Melita, says, “the barbarous people sbew. ed us no little kindness ; for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.»
Betyg, if, instead of a fast, they should proclaim a thanksgiving. His advice was taken; and from that day to this they have, in every year, observed circumstances of public felicity sufficient to furnish employment for a thanksgiving day; which is therefore constantly ordered and religiously observed,
I see in the public newspapers of different states frequent complaints of hard times, deadness of trade, scarcity of money, etc. etc. It is not my intention to assert or maintain, that these complaints are entirely without foundation. There can be no country or nation existing, in which there will not be some people so circumstanced, as to find it hard to gain a livelihood; people who are not in the way of any profitable trade, and with whom money is scarce, because they have nothing to give in exchange for it; and it is always in the power of a small number to make a great clamour. But let us take a cool view of the general state of our affairs, and perhaps the prospect will appear less gloomy than has been imagined.
The great business of the continent is agriculture. For one artisan, or merchant,
we have at least one hundred farmers, by far the greatest part cultivators of their own fertile lands, from whence many of them draw not only food necessary for their subsistence, but the materials of their clothing, so as to need very few foreign supplies; while they have a surplus of productions to dispose of, whereby wealth is gradually accumulated. Such has been the goodness of Divine Providence to these regions, and so favourable the climate, that, since the three or four years of hardship in the first settlement of our fathers here, a famine or scarcity has never been heard of amongst us: on the contrary, though some years may have been more, and others less plentiful, there has always been provision enough for ourselves, and a quantity to spare for exportation. And although the crops af last year were generally good, never was the farmer better paid for the part he can spare commerce, as the published price currents abundantly, testify. The lands he possesses are also continually rising in value with the increase of population; and, on the whole, he is enabled to give such good wages to those who work for him, that all who are acquainted with the old world must agree, that in no part of it are the labouring poor so generally well fed, well clothed, well lodged, and well paid, as in the United States of America
If we enter the cities, we find, that, since the revolu. tion, the owners of houses and lots of ground have had their interest vastly augmented in value; rents have risen to an astonishing height, and thence encouragement to increase building, which gives employment to an abundance of workmen, as does also the increased luxury and splendour of living of the inhabitants, thus made richer. These workmen ali demand and obtain much higher wa. ges than any other part of the world would afford them,
and are paid in ready money. This rank of people therefore do not, or ought not, to complain of hard times; and they make a very considerable part of the city inhabitants.
At the distance I live from our American fisheries, 1 cannot speak of them with any degree of certainty; but I have not heard, that the labour of the valuable race of men employed is worse paid, or that they meet with less success, than before the revolution. The whale- men indeed have been deprived of one market for their oil; but another, I hear, is opening for them, which it is hoped may be equally advantageons; and the demand is constantly increasing for their spermaceti candles, which therefore bear a much higher price than formerly.
There remain the merchants and shopkeepers. Of these, though they make but a small part of the whole nation, the number is considerable, too great indeed for the business they are employed in; for the consumption of goods in every country has its limits; the faculties of the people, that is, their ability to buy and pay, being equal only to a certain quantity of merchandize. If mer. chants calculate amiss on this proportion, and import too much, they will of course find the sale dull for the overplus, and some of them will say, that trade languishes, They should, and doubtless will, grow wiser by experience and import less. If too many artificers in town, and farmers from the country, flattering themselves with the idea of leading easier lives, turn shopkeepers, the whole natural quantity of that business divided among them all may afford too small a share for each, and occasion complaints, that trading is dead; these may also suppose, that it is owing to scarcity of money, while, in fact, it is not so much from the fewness of buyers, as from the excessive number of sellers, that the mischief arises; and, if every shopkeeping farmer and mechanic would return to the use of his plough and working tools, there would remain of widows and other women, shop. keepers sufficient for the business, which might then afford them a comfortable maintenance.
Whoever has travelled through the various parts of Europe, and observed how small is the proportion of people in affluence or easy circumstances there, compared with those in poverty and misery; the few rich and haughty landlords, the multitude of poor, abject, rack-rented, tythe-paying tenants, and half-paid and half starved ragged labourers; and views here the happy mediocrity, that so generally pervails throughout these states, where the cultivator works for himself, and supports his family in decent plenty, will, methinks, see abundant reason to bless Divine Providence for the evident and great difference in our favour, and be convinced that no nation known to us enjoys a greater share of human felicity.
* It is true, that in some of the states there are parties and discords; but let us look back, and ask if we were
This may be
ever without them? Such will exist wherever there is liberty; and perhaps they help to preserve it.
By the collision of different s:ntiments, sparks of truth are struck out, and political light is obtained. The different factions, which at present divide us, aim all at the public good; the differences are only about the various modes of promoting it. Things, actions, measures, and objects of all kinds, present themselves to the minds of men in such a variety of lights, that it is not possible we should all think alike at the same time on every subject, when hard. ly the same man retains at all times the same ideas of it. Parties are therefore the common lot of humanity. and ours are by no means more mischievous or less beneficial than those of other countries, nations, and ages, enjoying in the same degree the great blessing of political liberty.
Some indeed among us are not so much grieved for the present state of our affairs, as apprehensive for the future. The growth of luxury alarms them, and they think we are from that alone in the high road to ruin. They observe, that no revenue is sufficient without economy, and that the most plentiful income of a whole people from the natural productions of their country niay be dissipated in vain and needless expences, and poverty be introduced in the place of affluence. possible. It however, rarely happens : for there seems to be in every nation a greater proportiou of industry and frugality, which tend to enrich, than of idleness and prodigality, which occasion poverty: so that upon the whole there is a continual accumulation, Reflect what Spain, Gaul, Germany, and Britain were in the time of the Ro mans, inhabited by people little richer than our savages, and consider the wealth" they at present possess, in numerous wellbuilt cities, improved farms, rich moveables, magazines stocked with valuable manufactures, to say nothing of plate, jewels, and coined money; and all this, notwithstanding their bad, wasteful, plundering governments, and their nad destruetive wars; and yet luxury and extravagant living has never suffered much restraint in those countries, Then consider the great proportion of industrious frugal farmers inhabiting the interior parts of these Americans states, and of whom the body of our nation consists, and judge whether it is possible, that the luxury of our sea ports can be sufficient to ruin such a country. - If the importation of foreign luxuries could ruin a people, we should probably have been ruined long ago; for the British nation claimed a right, and practi. sed it. of importing among us not only the superfluities of their own production, but those of every nation under heaven; we bought and consumed them, and yet we flourished and grew rich. At present our independent govern. ments may do what we could not then do, discourage ly heavy duties, or prevent by heavy prohibitions, such importations, and thereby grow richer: if, indeed, which