« PreviousContinue »
therefore a morc steady encouragement to agriculture The nation would all have tread at this middle price; and that nation, which at any time inhumanly refuses to relieve the distresses of another nation, deserves no compassion when in distress itself.
Of the Effect of Dearness of Provisions upon
Working, and upon Manufactures. The common people do not work for pleasure ge nerally, but from necessity. Cheapress of provisions make them more idle; less work is then done, it is then more in demand proportionally, and of course the price rises. Dearness of provisions obliges the manufacturer to work more days and more Suurs; thus more work is done than equals the usual demandi of course it becomes cheaper, and the manufactures in consequence.
of an Open Trade. Perhaps, in general, it would be better if government redded no further with trade, than to protect it, and let it take its course. Most of the statutes or acts, eddicts, arrets, and placarls of parliaments, princes, and states, for regulating, directing, or ico straining of tradc, have, we think, been either political blunders, or jobs obtained by artful nen for private advantages under pretence of public good. 'When Colhert assenibled some of the wise oid merchants of France, and cesired their advice and opinion how he could best serve and promote commerce; their an. swer, after consultation, was in three words only. Laissez nous faire; “ Let us a.one."--It is said by a very solid writer of the same nation, that he is well advanced in the science politics, sho knows the full force of that maxim, Pas trop gouverner, “nut to govern too much;" which, perhaps, would be of more use when applied to trade, than in any other public concern. It were therefore to be wished, that commerce were as free between all the nations of the world as it is between the several counties of Englan.
sa would all, by mutual communications, obtain more enjoyments. Those countries do not ruin eacb other by Irade, neither would the nations. No na. tion was ever ruined by trade, even, seemingly, tho most disadvantageous.
Wherever desirable superfluities are imported in dustry is excited, and thereby plenty is produced. Were only necessaries permitted to be purchased, men would work no more than was necesse ry for
Of the Prohibition with respect to the Exportation of
Gold and Silver. Could Spain and Portugal have succeeded in es. ecuting their foolish laws for hedging in the cuckoo, as Locke ca!ls it, and have kept at home all their gold and silver, those inetals would by this tiine have been of litile more value than so much lead or iron. Their plenty would have lessened their value. We see the folly of these edicis; but are not our own prohibitury and restrictive laws, that are professedly made with intention to bring a balance in our favour froin our trade with foreign nations to be paid in money, and laws to prevent the necessity of export. ing that money, which if they could be thoroughly executed, would make money as plenty, and of as little value; I say, are not such laws a-kin to those Spanish adicts; follies of the same family.
of the Returns for Foreign Articles. In fact, the produce of other countries can hardly e obtained, unless by fraud and rapine, without git ing the produce of our laná or our industry in ex change for them. If we have mines of gold and silver, gold and silver may then be called the produce of our land; if we have not we can only fairly ob. tain those metals 'by giving for them the produce of our land or industry. When we have them, they are then only that produce or industry in another shape; which we may give, if the trade requires it, and own
other produce will not suit, in exchange for the produce of some other country that furnishes whiet we have more occasion for, or more desire. When we have, to an inconvenient degree, parted with our gold and silver, cur industry is stimulated aflesh to procure inoce; that by its means we may contrive to procure the same advantages.
When princes make war by prohibiting commerce each may hurt himself as much as his enemy.Traders, who by their business are promoting the coin. mon gooi of mankind, as well as farmers and fish. ermen, who labour for the subsistence of all, should never be interrupted or molested in their business, but enjoy the protection of all in the time of war, as well as in the iic!e of peace.
This policy, those we are pleased to call barbarians, have, in a great measure, adopted: for the trading subjects of any power, with whom t':e Em. peror of Morrocco may be at war, are not liable to capture, when within sight of his land, going or com. ing; and have otherwise free liberty to trade and reside in his dominions.
As a maritime power, we presume it is not thought right that Great Britain should grant such freedom, except partially, as in the case of war with France, wheni tubacco is allowed to be sent thither under the sar.ction of passports.
Exchange in Trade may ve gainful to euch
la transactions of trade it is not to be supposexi thal, like gaming, what cne party gains the other must necessarily lose. The gain to each may be equal. If A has incre com than he can consunie, but wants cattle; and B has more cattle, b:.1 wanti corn, exchange is gain w each: hereby the commons sluck of comforts in life is increased.
Of Paper Credit. It is impossible for government to circumscride or fix the extent of paper credit, which must of course fluctuate. Government may as well pretend to lay down rules for the operations, or the confidence of every individual in the course of his trade. Any seeming temporary evil arising must naturally work its own cure.
A UMOROUS ACCOUNT OF A CUSTOM AMONG THE AMERICANS, ENTIT
Attributed to the Pen of Dr. Franklin
ALTuOUGH the following article has not yet appear ed in any collection of the works of this great philosopher, we are inclined to receive the general opinion, (from the plainness of the style, and the humour which characterizes it) to be the performance of Dr. Franklin.
My wish is to give you some account of the pga ple of these new States, but I am far from being qua. lified for the purpose, having as yet seer little mora than the cities of New York and Philadelphia. I have discovered but few national singularities among them. Their customs and manrers are nearly the same with those of England, which they have long been used in copy. For, previous to the Revolution, the Americans were from their insancy taught to look up to the English as patiernsof perfection in all things. I have observed, however, one custom, which, iur aught I know, is peculiar to this country; an account of it will serve to ti!! up the remainiler of this sheet, and may afford you some amuseinent.
When a young couple are about to euter into the matrimonial state, a nover-failing articlo in the mar. riage treaty is, that the lady shail kave and enjoy the free and unmolested exercise of the rights of whitewashing, with all its ceremonials, privileges and appuntenances. A young woman would forego th most advantageous connexion, and even disappoint the warmest wish of her lieart, rather than resign the invaluable right. You would wonder what this prie vilege of white-icazhing is: I will endeavow to give you some idea of the cereniony, as I have seen it perforined.
There is no season of the year in which the lads may not claim her privilege, if she pleases; but when