Изображения страниц


Being a true Defcription of the Intereft and Policy of that vaft Continent.

THERE is a tradition, that, in the planting of New-England, the first fettlers met with many difficulties and hardships; as is generally the cafe when a civilized people attempt establishing themselves in a wilderness country. Being piously difpofed, they fought relief from Heaven, by laying their wants and diftreffes before the Lord, in frequent fet days of fafting and prayer. Conftant meditation and discourse on these subjects kept their minds gloomy and difcontented; and, like the children of Ifrael, there were many difpofed to return to that Egypt which perfecution had induced them to abandon. At length, when

when it was propofed in the affembly to proclaim another faft, a farmer of plain fense rose, and remarked, that the incon veniences they fuffered, and concerning which they had so often wearied Heaven with their complaints, were not fo great as they might have expected, and were diminishing every day as the colony ftrengthened; that the earth began to reward their labour, and to furnish liberally for their fubfiftence; that the feas and rivers were found full of fish, the air fweet, 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 converfing on thefe fubjects would be more comfortable, as tending more to make them contented with their fituation; and that it would be more becoming the gratitude they owed to the Divine Being, if, inftead of a faft, they fhould proclaim a thanksgiving. His P 3 advice

advice was taken; and from that day to this they have, in every year, obferved circumftances of public felicity fufficient to furnish employment for a thanksgiving day; which is therefore constantly ordered and religiously observed.

I fee in the public newspapers of different ftates frequent complaints of bard times, deadness of trade, Scarcity of money, &c. &c. It is not my intention to affert or maintain that these complaints are entirely without foundation. There can be no country or nation exifting, in which there will not be fome people fo circumftanced as to find it hard to gain a livelihood; people who are not in the way of any profitable trade, and with whom money is fcarce, because 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 perhaps the profpect

4 4


will appear lefs gloomy than has been imagined.

The great business of the continent is, agriculture. For one artisan, or merchant, I fuppofe, we have at least one hundred farmers, by far the greatest part cultivators of their own fertile lands, from whence many of them draw not only food neceffary for their fubfiftence, but the materials of their clothing, fo as to need very few foreign fupplies; while they have a furplus of productions to difpofe of, whereby wealth is gradually accumulated. Such has been the goodness of Divine Providence to these regions, and fo favourable the climate, that, since the three or four years of hardship in the first fettlement of our fathers here, a famine or fcarcity has never been heard of amongst us; on the contrary, though fome years may have been more, and others lefs plentiful, there has always been provifion enough for ourselves, and a quantity

P 4

a quantity to fpare for exportation. And although the crops of last year were generally good, never was the farmer better paid for the part he can spare commerce, as the published price currents abundantly teftify. The lands he poffeffes are alfo continually rifing in value with the increase of population; and, on the whole, he is enabled to give fuch good wages to those who work for him, that all who are acquainted with the old world must agree, that in no part of it are the labouring poor fo generally well fed, well clothed, well lodged, and well paid, as in the United States of America.

If we enter the cities, we find that, fince the revolution, the owners of houses and lots of ground have had their interest vaftly augmented in value; rents have rifen to an astonishing height, and thence encouragement to increafe building, which gives employment to an abundance

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »