« PreviousContinue »
be a breach of your privileges, and such a govern niert tyrannical? And yet you are about to put your. self under that tyranny when you run in debt for sucks dress! Your creditor has authority, at his pleasure, t deprive you of your liberty, by confining you in goal for life, or by selling you for a servant, if you should not be able to pay him. When you have goi your bargain, you inay, perhaps, think little of payment; but Creditors (pvor Richard tells us) have better memories than debtors;' and in another placu he says, Creditors are a superstitious sect, greas observers of set days and times.' The day comes round before you are aware, and the demand is made before you are prepared to satisfy it. Or if you bear your debt in mind, the term which at first seemed so long, will as it lessens, appear extremely short. Time will seem to have added wings to his heels as well as at his shoulders. Those have a short Lent (saitt poor Richard) who owe money to be paid ar Easter. Then sinice, as he says, “The borrower is a slave te the lender, and the debior to the creciitor;' disdaid the chain, preserve your freedom, and maintain your independency: be industrious and free; be frugal and free. At present, perhaps, you may think your. selves in thriving circumstances, and that you can bear a little extravagance without injury; but
. For age and want save while you may,
as poor Richard says. Gain may be temporary ana luicertain ; but ever, while you live, expense is constant and certain : and it is easier to bujid two chimneys, than to keep one in fuel,' as poor Rich ard says. So · Rather go to bed supperless vian rise i debt. Get what you can, and what you get hold, Tis the stone that will turn all your lead into golj ” us poor Richard says. And when you have got the pluilosopher's sione, sure you will no longer complains of bad ümes, or the difficulty of paying ta.ses.
This doctrine, my friends, is reason and wisdom. but, after all, do not depend too much upon your own industry and frugality, and prudence, though excel. lent things; for they may be blasted, without the blessing of Heaven: and therefore ask that blessing humbly, and be not uncharitable to those that at present seein to want it, but comfort and help them. Reinember Job suffered, and was afterwards pros perous.
" And now, to conclude, Experience keeps a dear school; but fools will learn in no other, and scarce in that; for it is true, we may give advice, but we cannot give conduct,' as poor Richard says. How. erer, remember this, They that will not be coun. selled, cannot be helped,' as poor Richard says; and, further, that. If you will not hear Reason, she will surely rap your knuckles.'"
Thus the old gentleman ended his harrangue. The people hcard it, and approved the doctrine, and immediately practised the contrary, just as if it had teen a common sermon; for the auction opened, and they began to buy extravagantly, notwithstanding all his cautions, and their own fear of taxes. I found the good man had thoroughly studied my AL manacs, and digested all I had uropped on those topics, during the course of twenty-five years. The frequent mention he made of me, must have tired every one else; but my vanity was wonderfully delighted with it, though I was conscious that not a tenth part of the wisdom was my own, which he as. cribed tu me, but rather the gleanings that I had made ; of the sense of all ages and nations. However, I resolved to be the better for the echo of it; and though I had first determined to buy stuff for a new coat, I went away, resolved to wear my old une a little lon ger. Reader, if thou wilt do the same, thy profit wil be as great as mine. I am, as ever, thine to serve thee,
RICHARD SAUNDERS. •
INTERNAL STATE OF AMERICA.
Being a true Description of the Interest and Polig
of that vast Continent.
THERE is a tradition, that in the planting of New. England, the first settlers met with many difficulties and hardships : as is generally the case when a civi. lized people attemut establishing themselves in a wilderness country. Being piously disposed, they sought 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 niinds gloomy and discontented ; anu, 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 inconvienences they suffered, and concerning which they had so oiten 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 ful 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 situa ion; and that it would be more becoming the gratitude they owed to the Divino Being, if, instead of a fasi, they shculd proclaim a thanksgiving. Flis advice was taken; and from that day to this they have, in every year, observod cir cumstances of public felicity sufficient to furnish em ployment 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 nioney, &c. &c. It is not my intention ic assert or maintain that these compiaints are entire ly without foundalion. There can be no country or nation existing, in which there will not be sojne peo ple so circumstanced as to find it hard to gain a live lihood; people, who are rot in the way of any profitable trade, with whom money is scarct, we cause 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 per. laps the prospect will appear less gloomy than has been imagined.
The great business of the continent is agriculture, For one artizan, or inerchant, I suppose we nave at least one hun led 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 clotning, so as to need very few foreign suppiies: while they have a surplus of productions to dispose of, whereby wealth is gradually accumula:ed. Such has been the good. ness of Divine Providence to these regions, and so favourable the climate, that, since the three or four years of hardship is the first settlement of our fathers here, a famine or scarcity has never beer 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 of last year were generally good, never was tho 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 acquaint
ad with the old world must agrée, that in no parto it are the labouring poor so generally well fed, well lodged, and well paid, as in the United Stated of Anierica.
If we enter the cities, we find that since the Ro volution, 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 em ployment to an abundance of workmen, as does als the increased luxury and splendour of living of th inhabitants thus made richer. These workmen al. demand and obtain much bigher wagès than any other part of the world would afford them, and are paid in ready money. This rank of people thierefore 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 fish. eries, I cannot speak of them with any degree of certainty ; but I have not heard that the labour of the valuable race of men employed in them is worse paid, or that they met with less success, than before the revolution. The whale-men indeed have been depriv. ed of one market for their oil, but another, I hear, is opening for them, which it is hoped may be equally ad. vantagevus; and the demand is constantly increasing for their sperinaceti 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 enıployed iw; for the consumption of goods in every coumry has its limits; the faculties of the people, that is, their ability to buy and pay, are equal to a certain quantity of merchan. dise. If merchants calculatr amiss on this proportion, and irport too much, they will of course find the sale dull for the overplus, and sure of them will say that trade languishes. They should, and doubtless will, grow wiser by experience, and import less.
If too inany artificers in town, and farmers from the country, Aattering themselves with the idea of