Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Weft Florida, to the high rich lands above-mentioned. Nor would this be even settling any country but what the French had begun to settle before ; for a full proof of which see Du Pratz. The spot whereon the French fort, Rosalia, was built, is the properest situation for a great settlement on the Misisippi, as fhips may come up thither with the greatest case. As to the extent of West Florida it might run up the Milli flippi as far as the end of the 33d degree of north latitude, and eartward two degrees of longitude from its weitern boun. daries; and by taking in fo large a country, the expence of establishments would be no more than is now annually paid for the present West Florida, and there would be plenty of country left nevertheless for the Indians; but that tract, as it could not all be near wanting for many years, need not at first be purchased of the Indians (where I mean the French had not bought before; for far to the north of West Florida they had, and confequently our right to it by the peace teok place) but by degrees, as the settlements extend.

The tract of country on the Ohio is, in every respect, as excellent as that which we have described; or, if we attend to the accounts of our own people who have traversed it, still better. A part of this country, lying on the back of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, was what our coloniils wanted so much to poffess before the last war, for cultivating tobacco, hemp, filk, and fax in; and we cannot suppose that would have been the case, if it had not been more proper for these staples than their lands at home.

• Such are the tracts of country confirmed to Britain by the peace of 1763, but which, by the most unaccountable policy, she has chosen to make no use of, at the very time when the wants them to

the utmost neceflity. Now, the proceeding which is at present requifite to prevent the ill effects that are arising in our colonies, is to ex• tend West Florida in the manner I have proposed, and immediately to establish a new colony on the Ohio, on the back of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. Tobacco, hemp, iron, and such bulky staples would be sent from thence down the Ohio and Misfilippi, at a very

finall expence.--Even fifty per cent. less than is now paid to a sea port from Buckingham, Charlotte, Augusta, Bedford, Halifax, Bottetourt, and Pictlylvania counties in Virginia; and Cumberland, Bedford, Northampton, and Berks counties in Pennsylvania. Flour, beef, and pork would be sent froin the new colony to West Florida, and from thence to East Florida, Jamaica, &c. much cheaper, sooner, and in better order, than has ever been done from New York, NewJersey, or Philadelphia; and in case of a future Spanish or French war, the Floridas could be immediately succoured by the Ohio colony, or a great and speedy aid could be afforded from thence for the reduction of New-Orleans, the Havannah, &c.;-and as to lilk, fax, and such light and valuable articles, they would be conveyed from the new colony, by a short and cheap land-carriage to Fort Cumberland, and from thence by water, down the river Potomak, to Alexandria. The hemp and iron from Ruslia are transported by a much longer, more expensive and dificult inland navigation, than that of the Ohio and Miliflippi, with the addition of a very confiderable land-carriage upon them. “The Ohio," says a very inge. nious writer, " as the winter snows are thawed by the warmth or rains in the spring, rises in vaf floods ; in some places exceeding twenty feet in height, but scarce any where overflowing its high and upright banks. These foods continue of some height for at leaft a month or two, being guided in the time by the late or early breaking up of the winter. The stream is then too rapid to be ftemmed upwards by failing or rowing, and too deep for setting; but excellently fitted for large vessels going down ; then thips of 100 or 200 tons may go from Fort Du Queine (now called Fort Pitt) to sea, with safety. Hence in process of time, large ships may be built on the Ohio, and sent off to lea with the heavy produce of the country.".

• As to the benefits of extending the limits of West Florida, and forming a new colony on the Ohio, very little here is requisite to be inserted upon a point which all the preceding pages fo fully explain. In the prelent state of our old ones, manufactures are every day taking the place of planting ; and all for want of such excellent lands as are upon the Mislillippi and Ohio. Our tobacco trade is upon the decline, and will soon be annihilated; for the lands in Virginia and Maryland having, for an hundred and fifty years, produced that exhausting vegetable, are worn out, and daily converting into cornfarms, from which no benefit results to Britain. This great want of fresh land in those plantations was felt many years ago ; che inhabitants bave been doubled since : how much greater, therefore, mutt that want be now! In the northern colonies, likewise, the inhabitants are drove to manufactures for want of lands to make staple commodi. ties on. We are told, by one who knows their country well, that 200,000 people, bred to the culture of the earth, are there out of employment for want of land, and actually petitioned for the territory of Sagadahoc, to settle in ; which they would never have thought of, had the least idea of a colony on the Ohio been current.

The proposed settlements on the Misliflippi and Ohio would yield hemp and fax sufficient to supply all Europe, nay all the world. • The ships that might be built at Louisiana, lays Du Pratz, would never be sufficient to employ all the hemp which might be raised on the Ohio and Mississippi, did the inhabitants cultivate as much of it as they well might."" The inland parts of America, says another, are well known to be fitted for the production of hemp, fax and filk.” “ Such lands are described on the Mislilippi and Ohio, says a third, have a natural moisture in them, which is she very foil that both hemp, flax, and indigo delight in ; and these are the three first commodities that the nation wants from the colonies. Upon such lands, hemp and flax may be made in quantities, as a staple commodity to send to Britain : whereas, on the poor lands in our colonies and their small plantations, they can only make a little for their own use. The one would be the greatest service when the other is a prejudice to the nation. The climate likewise is as fit for these commodities. Here they might sow hemp and flax in winter, which is the only proper season for them in any part of North America. This would afford time for making another crop in fummer, which hould be indigo. Now a crop of indigo, hemp, and fax, would be much more profitable than any thing that America produces, whether on the continent or the islands. Every labourer might cultivate two acres or more in hemp, and one or two in indigo, the produce of 6

which both

which would be worth from 30 to 401. a-year. This would enable them to purchase negroes, and to enlarge the British plantations beyond what they are otherwise capable of. Such plantations would be more profitable thau even sugar colonies, and supply the nation with more valuable and necessary articles. A hundred thousand labourers, which might be easily found in all our colonies, would at this rate of 281. a-head, make 2,000,000 l. a-year; but suppose they make only one half of this, it is as much as all our colonies in North America now produce. By these means, the nation might get the trade both of indigo, hemp, and flax, and supply all Europe with these commodities, as we now do with tobacco; which last these lands are as fit to produce, and in much greater plenty and perfection than any other part of North America. And when our tobacco plantations are worn out, there are no lands to supply their place in all the British dominions but those on the Millissippi and Ohio.”

Seeing, therefore, that the proposed enlargement of West Florida, and the establishment of a new colony on the Ohio, are not only fo valuable in themselves, but so peculiarly necessary to this nation at this time, I would humbly propose that they be immediately adopred. And if the whole was even to be done at the government's expence, it ought not, considering the great importance of the measure, to be neglected : But no such matter would be necessary; for the numbers of people in those colonies who are in want of fresh land are so great, that the new settlements, and especially that on the Ohio, would speedily be performed. There can be no greater proof of this, than the repeated petitions from all parts of those colonies, for leave to penetrate into the back country; and the many thousand families who have removed to, and settled on the waters of the Ohio, notwithstanding the proclamation of October 1763.'

So far as we are capable of forming a judgment upon this delicate subject, we must own this proposal of our Author's seems to be founded in good policy; and, if properly executed, capable of producing very beneficial consequences : and we should imagine, so far from being dangerous to government as it has been insinuated, that settlers, with plenty of land to cultivate, in situations so far from the sea, muft, in all probability, be the most peaceable and most beneficial of all his Majesty's American subjects : provided a slavish policy does not at first corrupt the principles of the establishments, and prevent the people from enjoying the blessings of that conflitution which has exalted Bricons above the condition of most other nations, and which will preserve their dignity, and exalt their natures, so long as they have fpirit and virtue to preserve it; but if feudal establishments and military discipline are to be adopted in our future settlements, it is to be wished, for the happiness of mankind, that all attempts to extend our baleful influence may be frustrated.

There is no doubt but his Majesty's fubjeëls beyond the Atlantic would be as loyal, as peaceable, and as happy, as his subjects on this fide, provided the ridiculous fears and narrow apprehenlions of MINUTE STATESMEN were discarded, and they were both governed by the same principles. The King stands exactly in the same relation to his subjects in Britain, as to those in America; there is no difference but what is merely geographical ; and therefore there ought to be none in policy, or adminiftration, but what that geographical difference requires ; and the defect that arises from this circumstance is remedied in the best polible manner by the Governors, or King's representatives, thro' whom his Majesty hath as much constitutional power there as he has in England: and whoever aims at more than this, aims at the establishment, not of lawful government, but of tyranny.

Our Author's humanity was certainly not awake while he wrote and defended the latter part of the following prescription : ' Purchase all such staples as the northern colonies can supply, and sell the manufactures of Britain fo cheap throughout them as to ruin all their own manufactures.' And this is to be done by means of fazlors, to be established by government, in the chief towns of America, with goods purchased by government, to be fold at such prices as would immediately ruin all the colony manufacturers, and consequently multitudes of other factors, who have established houses there for the sale of British goods, which they must have purchased at the common market price.

Bounties gradually given upon the exportation of all the Britilh articles in which the Americans are likely to rival us, we humbly presume, would be a much safer, less exceptionable, and more effectual mode of counteracting the American manufactures than that which our Author proposes ; and especially a large bounty upon pig-iron would have a very good effect in counterading the impolitic encouragement given, fome years ago, to American bar-iron, would tend to clear the grounds in America, and to preserve the woods in England : what our furnaces might suffer by this encouragement would be amply made up in the advantage gained to our forges, and to our home manufactures in every branch of the iron trade.

And we are well informed many persons largely concerned in the Britih iron trade acknowledge, that it is to their discouragement of the American pig-iron, and the small price they combined to give for it, some years since, that we may chiefly attribute the rapid progress of the Americans, of late years, in making bariron, and in consequence of that, other iron manufac

Inftcad of the above harsh propofition, supposing the new establishments to have taken place, and that the Americans have land enough for cultivation, we apprehend it would be better to fay : “ Encourage all such staples as any of the cofonies can supply by effectual bounties, or free uninterrupted importation into Great Britain :” and instead of laying duties absurdiy upon Out own manufactures, to prelerve an unconstitutional authority

of

tures.

of one British parliament over other British parliaments, ging bounties, and gradually increase them, upon such articles of Britiffi manufactory as the colonies have been impoliticly induced to rivat us in, until the Americans are brought into a plan of employment suitable to their peculiar advantages, and most fubfervient to the emolument of the whole British empira. Thus by making their raw materials dear to the Americans, and our manufactures cheap, we shall effectually establish that sort of dependence which is the grand object of colonization, and the European and American Britons, receiving mutual advantage from the connection, would live in perfect harmony, reciprocally supporting and defending each other. And we beg leave to add, that the free and constant importation of CORN and rice from America, to Great Britain, under proper regulations, would be one of the moft important and effestual parts of this system of improvement; as, at the same time that it would be a great encouragement to American agriculture, and consequently to the consumption of British manufactures, it would greatly promote ship building and navigation, and enable this nation to supply a great part of Europe with the most necessary article of life. Nor, if well considered, can this be a proper object of jealousy to the land-owners and farmers in Great Britain ; for if constant importation and exportation of corn are allowed, the demand will be immense, and the price pretty uniform, as in that case it must always be near the average price of Europe. Every body knows that sugar was not cheaper either in our islands or in Great Britain when the French sugar islands were in our poffesfion.

The price of commodities depends upon the proportion between the quantity demanded and produced ; and upon the same principle, if all the corn in Europe was to be brought to England, and exportation was free, the price of our own corn would not sink while all Europe must be supplied from us, or die for want of it. But we should gain a very profitable trade, and be fure to feed our own people something cheaper than others were fed ; as they would have the expences of exportation and carriage against them.

There are nany other sentiments and propofals in this and the following Essay that require examination, or merit praile, and especially what the Author has advanced upon the Expediency of forming new Colonies; and upon the British Commerce with the East Indies: but for satisfaction on these, and other interesting subjects, we must refer the inquisitive Reader to the work itself, --which may with truth be considered as a very valuable compilation of materials concerning the present State of the British Empire; accompanied with many judicious hints and proposals for improving our system of political æconomy: and, consequently, well deserving the attention of the public.

But

« AnteriorContinuar »