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accidentally beneficial to particular persons, is far from being profitable to all engaged in it, or to the nation that authorises it. In the beginning of a war some rich ships are surprised and taken.
This encourages the first adventurers, to fit out more armed vessels, and many others to do the same. But the enemy at the same time become more careful, arm their merchant ships better, and render them not so easy to be taken ; they go also more under the protection of convoys. Thus, while the privateers to take them are multiplied, the vessels subject to be tahen, and the chances of profit are diminished ; so that many cruises are made, wherein the expences overgo the gains; and, as is the case in other lotteries, though particulars have got prizes, the mass of adventurers are losers, the whole expence of fitting out all the privateers during a war being much greater than the whole amount of goods, taken.
Then there is the national loss of all the labour of so many men during the time they have been employed in robbing; who besides spend what they get in riot, drunkenness, and debauchery; lose their habits of industry ; are rarely fit for any sober business after a peace, and serve only to increase the number of highway men and house-breakers. Even the undertakers who have been fortunate, are, by sudden wealth, led into expensive living, the habit of which continues when the means of supporting it cease, and finally ruins them: a just punishment for having wantonly and unfeelingly ruined many honest, innocent traders and their families, whose substance was employed in serving the common interest of mankind.
ON THE IMPRESS OF SEAMEN.
Notes copied from Dr. Franklin's writing in pencil in
the margin of Judge Foster's celebrated argument in favour of the IMPRESSING OF SEAMEN (published in the folio edition of his works.)
JUDGE Foster, p. 158. « Every Man,”—The conclusion here from the whole to a part, does not seem to be good logic. If the alphabet should say, Let us all fight for the defence of the whole ; that is equal, and may therefore be just. But if they should say, Let A, B, C, and D, go out and fight for us, while we stay at home and sleep in whole skins; that is not equal, and therefore cannot be just.
16. “ Employ." -- If you please. The word signifies engaging a man to work for me, by offering him such wages as are sufficient to induce him to prefer my ser. vice. This is very different from compelling him to work on such terms as I think proper.
16. “ This service and employment, &c."-These are false facts. His employment and service are not the same Under the merchant he goes in an unarmed vessel, not obliged to fight, but to transport merchan• dise. In the king's service he is obliged to fight, and to hazard all the dangers of battle. Sickness on board of king's ships is also more common and more mortal. The merchant's service too he can quit at the end of
the voyage ; not the king's. Also, the merchant's wages are much higher.
Ib. “ I am very sensible, &c.”—Here are two things put in comparison that are not comparable : viz. injury to seamen, and inconvenience to trade. Inconvenience to the whole trade of a nation will not justify injustice to a single seaman. If the trade would suffer without his service, it is able and ought to be willing to offer him such wages as may induce him to afford his service voluntarily,
Page 159. * Private mischief must be borne with " patience, for preventing a national calamity.”. Where is this maxim in law and good policy to be found? And how can that be a maxiin which is not consistent with common sense? If the maxim had been, that private mischief, which, prevent a national calamity, ought to be generously compensated by the nation, one might understand it: but that such private mischiefs are only to be borne with patience, is absurd !
Ib. " The expedient, &c. And, &c," (Paragraphs 2 and 3)-Twenty ineffectual or inconvenient schemes will not justify one that is unjust.
Ib. « Upon the foot of, &c."-Your reasoning, indeed, like a lie, stands but upon one foot ; truth upon two.
Page 160. “ Full wages."-Probably the same they had in the merchant's service.
Page 174. “ I hardly admit, &c." (Paragraph 5) -When this author speaks of impressing, page 158, he diminishes the horror of the practice as much as possible, by presenting to the mind one sailor only suffering hardship (as he tenderly calls it) in some par. ticular cases only: and he places against this private mischief the inconvenience to the trade of the kingdom.-But if, as he supposes is often the case, the sailor who is pressed, and obliged to serve for the defence of trade, at the rate of twenty five shillings a month, could get three pounds fifteen shillings in the mer. chant's service, you take from him fifty shillings a