Page images
PDF
EPUB

worse by their falling into our hands ? No; they have only exchanged one slavery for another; and I may say a better : for here they are brought into a land where the sun of Islamism gives forth its light, and shines in full splendour, and they have an opportunity of making themselves acquainted with the true doctrine, and thereby saving their immortal fouls. Those who remain at home, have not that happiness. Sending the llaves home, then, would be fending them out of light into darknefs.

" I repeat the question, what is to be done with them? I have heard it suggested, that they may be planted in the wilderness, where there is plenty of land for them to subsift on, and where they may flourish as a free ftate:-But they are, I doubt, too little disposed to labour without compulfion, as well as too ignorant to establish good government: and the wild Arabs . would foon moleft and destroy, or again enslave them. While serving us, we take care to provide them with every thing; and they are treated with humanity. The labourers in their own countries are, as I am informed, worse fed, lodged, and clothed. The condition of most of them is therefore already mended, and requires no farther improvement. Here their lives are in safety. They are not liable to be impressed for soldiers, and forced to cut one another's Christian throats, as in the wars of their own countries. If some of the religious mad bigots, who now tease us with their filly petitions, have, in a fić of blind zeal, freed their slaves, it was not generofity, it was not humanity that moved them to the action; it was from the conscious burthen of a load of fins, and hope, from the supposed merits of so good a work, to be excused from damnation-How grossly are they mistaken, in

imagining

imagining lavery to be disavowed by the Alcoran! Are not the two precepts, to quote no more, “ Mafters, treat your slaves with kindness-Slaves, serve your masters with cheerfulness and fidelity," clear proofs to the contrary? Nor can the plundering of infidels be in that sacred book forbidden ? fince it is well known from it that God has given the world, and all that it contains, to his faithful Mussulmen, who are to enjoy it, of right, as fast as they can conquer it. Let us chen hear no more of this detestable proposition, the manumission of Christian slaves, the adoption of which would, by depreciating our lands and houses, and thereby depriving so many good citizens of their properties, create universal discontent, and provoke insurrections, to the endangering of government, and producing general confusion. I have, therefore, no doubt that this wise council will prefer the comfort and happiness of a whole nation of true believers, to the whim of a few Erika, and dismiss their petition.

The result was, as Martin tells us, that the Die van came to this resolution: “ That the doctrine, “ that the plundering and enslaving the Christians " is unjust, is at best problematical; but that it " is the interest of this state to continue the

prac“ tice, is clear; therefore, let the petition be re

jected.” And it was rejected accordingly. And fince like motives are apt to produce, in the minds of men, like opinions and resolutions, may we not venture to predict, from this account, that the petitions to the parliament of England for abolishing the llave trade, to say nothing of other legislatures, and the debates upon them, will have a similar conclusion.

HISTORICUS.

March 23, 1790.

OBSER

OBSERVATIONS ON WAR.

Br

Y the original law of nations, war and extirpation were the punishment of injury. Huma.. nizing by degrees, it admitted flavery inftead of death: a farther step was, the exchange of prifoners inftead of slavery: another, to refpect more the property of private persons under conquest, and be content with acquired dominion. Why fhould not this law of nations go on improving? Ages have intervened between its several fteps. but as knowledge of late increases rapidly, why fhould not those steps be quickened? Why should it not be agreed to, as the future law of nations, that in any war hereafter the following defcription of men should be undisturbed, have the protection of both sides, and be permitted to follow their employments in security ? viz.

1. Cultivators of the earth, because they labour for the fubfiftence of mankind.

2. Fishermen, for the faine reason, 3. Merchants and traders in unarmed fhips, who accommodate different nations by commuAicating and exchanging the neceflaries and conveniencies of life.

4. Artists and mechanics, inhabiting and working in open towns.

It is hardly necessary to add, that the hospitals of enemies fhould be unmolested-they ought to be afliited. It is for the interest of humanity in general, that the occafions of war, and the inducements to it, fhould be diminifhed.

If rapine be abolished, one of the encouragements to war is taken away; and peace therefore more likely to continue and be lafting

The

1

The practice of robbing merchants on the high seas—a remnant of the antient piracy—though it may be accidentally beneficial to particular persons, is far from being profitable to all engaged in it, or to the nation

that authorises it. In the begina ning of a war some rich ships are surprized and taken. This encourages the first adventurers to fit out more armed vessels; and many others to do the same. But the enemy at the same time become more careful; arm their merchant ships better, and render them not so eafy to be taken: they go alfo more under the protection of convoys. Thus, while the privateers to take them are multiplied, the vessels subject to be taken, and the chances of profit, are diminished; fo that many cruises are made wherein the expencés overgo the gains; and, as is the case in other lot. teries, though particulars have got prizes, the mafs of adventurers are losers, the whole expence of fitting out all the privateers during a war being much greater than the whole amount of goods taken.

Then there is the national loss of all the labour of fo many men during the time they have been employed in robbing; who besides spend what they get in riot, drunkenness, and debauchery; lofe their habits of induftry; are rarely fit for any fober businefs after a peace, and ferve only to increafe the number of highwaymen and housebreakers. Even the undertakers who have been fortunate, are, by sudden wealth, led into expensive living, the habit of which continues when the means of fupporting it ceafe, and finally ruins them: a juft punifhment for their having wantonly and unfeelingly ruined many honeft, inno. cent traders and their families, whose substance was employed in serving the common interest of mankind.

R

ON THE

IMPRESS OF SE AMEN.

Notes copied from Dr. Franklin's writing in pencil in the margin

of Judge Foster's celebrated argument in favour of the IMPRESSING OF SEAMEN (fublished in the folio edition of his works.)

UDGE Foster, p. 158.

" Every Man.”The conclusion here from the whole to a part, does not seem to be good logic. If the alphabet should fay, Let us all fight for the defence of the whole; that is equal, and may. therefore, be just. But if they fhould say, Let A B C and D go out and fight for us, while we stay at home and sleep in whole skins; that is not equal, and therefore can. not be juft.

Ib. Employ.”—If you please. The word signifies engaging a man to work for me, by offering him such wages as are sufficient to induce him to prefer my service. This is very different from compelling him to work on such terms as

. 1b. c. This service and employment, &c."These are false facts. His employments and service are not the same. -Under the merchant he goes in an unarmed vessel, not obliged to fight, but to transport merchandize. In the king's service he is obliged to fight, and to hazard all the dangers of battle. Sickness on board of king's ships is. also more common and more mortal. The merchant's service too he can quit at the end of the voyage; not the king's. Allo, the merchant's wages are much higher.

4

I think proper

« PreviousContinue »