« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
of agent; I made no bargain for my future service, when I was ordered to England by the assembly; nor did they vote me any salary. I lived there near six years at my own expence, and I made no charge or demand when I came home. You, sir, of all others, was the very member that proposed (for the honour and justice of the house) a compensation to be made me of the five thousand pounds you mention. Was it with an intent to reproach me thus publicly for accepting it? I thanked the house for it then, and I thank you now for proposing it though you, who have lived in England, can easily conceive, that besides the prejudice to my private affairs by my absence, a thousand pounds more would not have reimbursed me. The money voted was immediately paid me. But if I had occasioned the loss of six thousand pounds to the province, here was a fair opportunity of securing easily the greatest part of it; why was not the five thousand pounds deducted, and the remainder called for? The reason is, this accusation was not then invented. Permit me to add, that supposing the whole eleven thousand pounds an expence occasioned by my voyage to England, yet the taxation of the proprietary estate now established will, when valued by
Thursday, March 31, 1763.
"Pursuant to a resolve of the nineteenth of last month, that the thanks of this house be given to Benjamin Franklin, Esq. for his many services not only to the province of Pensylvania, but to America in general, during his late agency at the court of Great Britain; the same were this day accordingly given in form from the chair.-To which Mr. Franklin, respectfully addressing himself to the Speaker, made answer, That he was thankful to the house, for the very handsome and generous allowance they had been pleased to make him for his services; but that the approbation of this house was, in his estimation, far above every other kind of recompence." Votes, 1763.
years purchase, be found in time an advantage to the public, far exceeding that expence. And if the expence is at present a burthen, the odium of it ought to lie on those, who, by their injustice, made the voyage necessary; and not on me, who only submitted to the orders of the house in undertaking it.
I am now to take leave (perhaps a last leave) of the country I love, and in which I have spent the greatest part of my life.-ESTO PERPETUA.-I wish every kind of prosperity to my friends,---and I forgive my enemies. B. FRANKLIN.
Philadelphia, Nov. 5, 1764.
Remarks on a Plan for the future Management of Indian Affairs*.
THE regulations in this plan seem to me to be in general very good: but some few appear to want explanation or farther consideration.
The plan remarked upon was under the consideration of ministry before the close of the year 1766, and (as I am inclined to think) after the commencement of 1765. I can go no nearer as to its date.
It is needless to enter into the particulars of it, as the remarks explain themselves; except perhaps as to the following points. The trade was to be open; there were to be two superintendants to it; in the northern district the trade was to be carried on at fixed posts, in the southern within the Indian town; the military were to have no power over the superintendants or the Indian trade, even in war time, unless with the superintendants' assent, or in great exigencies; the superintendants, by themselves or deputies, were to make annual visitations among the Indians, to see to justice, &c. and their proceedings were to be very summary; and no credit was to be given to the Indians beyond fifty shillings, for no higher debt was to be made recoverable, B. V.
Clause 3. Is it intended by this clause, to prevent the trade that Indians, living near the frontiers, may choose to carry on with the inhabitants, by bringing their skins into the [English] settlements? This prevention is hardly practicable; as such trade may be carried on in many places out of the observation of government; the frontier being of great extent, and the inhabitants thinly settled in the woods, remote from each other. The Indians too do not every where live in towns sufficiently numerous to encourage traders to reside among them, but in scattered families, here and there, often shifting their situation for the sake of better hunting; and if they are near the English settlements, it would seem to them very hard to be obliged to carry their skins for sale to remote towns or posts, when they could dispose of them to their neighbours, with less trouble, and to greater advantage; as the goods they want for them, are and must be dearer at such remote posts.
4. The colony" laws for regulating Indian affairs or commerce" are the result of long experience, made by people on the spot, interested to make them good; and it would be well to consider the matter thoroughly, before they are repealed, to make way for new untried schemes.
By whom are they to be repealed? By the colony assemblies, or by parliament? Some difficulty will arise here.
13. The districts seem too large for this. The Indians under the care of the northern superintendant, by this plan, border on the colonies of Nova Scotia, Quebec, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pensylvania, Maryland, Vir
ginia: the superintendant's situation, remote from many of these, may occasion great inconvenience, if his consent is always to be necessary in such cases.
14. This seems too much to be done, when the vastness of the district is considered. If there were more districts and smaller, it might be more practicable.
15 and 16. Are these agents or commissaries to try causes where life is concerned? Would it not be better, to send the criminals into some civil well settled government or colony for trial, where good juries can be
18. "Chief for the whole tribe; who shall constantly reside with the commissary, &c." Provision must then be made for his maintenance, as particular Indians have no estates, but live by hunting, and their public has no funds or revenues. Being used to rambling, it would perhaps not be easy to find one, who would be obliged to this constant residence; but it may be tried.
22. If the agent and his deputies, and the commissaries, are not to trade, should it not be a part of their oath, that they will have no concern in such trade, directly or indirectly? Private agreements between them and the traders, for share of profits, should be guarded against, and the same care taken to prevent, if possible, private agreements between them and the purchasers of Indian lands.
31." or trading at any other post, &c." This should be so expressed, as to make the master liable for the offence of the servant; otherwise it will have no effect.
33. I doubt the settling of tarifs will be a matter of difficulty. There may be differences of fineness, goodness, and value, in the goods of different traders, that
cannot be properly allowed for by general tariffs. And it seems contrary to the nature of commerce, for government to interfere in the prices of commodities. Trade is a voluntary thing between buyer and seller; in every article of which, each exercises his own judgment, and is to please himself. Suppose either Indian or trader is dissatisfied with the tariff, and refuses barter on those terms, are the refusers to be compelled? if not, why should an Indian be forbidden to take more goods for skins than your tariff allows, if the trader is willing to give them, or a trader more skins for his goods, if the Indian is willing to give them? Where there are a number of different traders, the separate desire of each to get more custom will operate in bringing down their goods to a reasonable price. It therefore seems to me, that trade will best find and make its own rates; and that government cannot well interfere, unless it will take the whole trade into its own hands (as in some colonies it does) and manage it by its own servants, at its own risque.
38. I apprehend, that if the Indians cannot get rum of fair traders, it will be a great means of defeating all these regulations, that direct the trade to be carried on at certain posts. The countries and forests are so very large, it is scarce possible to guard every part, so as to prevent unlicensed traders drawing the Indians and the trade to themselves, by rum and other spiritous liquors, which all savage people are so fond of. I think they will generally trade where they can get rum, preferably to where it is refused them; and the proposed prohibibition will therefore be a great encouragement to unlicensed traders, and promote such trade. If the commissaries, or officers at the posts, can prevent the scl