ePub 版

the Indian, " that they tell you so ; they have told me the same; but I doubt the truth of what they say, and I will tell you my reasons. I went lately to Albany, to sell my skins, and buy blankets, knives, powder, rum, &c. You know I used generally to deal with Hans Hanson ; but I was a little inclined this time to try some other merchants. However, I called first upon Hans and asked him what he would give for beaver. He said that he could not give more than four shillings a pound ; but, says he, I cannot talk on business now, this is the day when we meet together to learn good things, and I am going to the meeting. So I thought to myself, since I cannot do any business to-day, I may as well go to the meeting too, and I went with him. There stood up a man in black, and began to talk to the people very angrily, I did not understand what he said, but perceiving that he looked much at me and at Hanson, I imagined he was angry at seeing me there; so I went out, sat down near the house, struck fire, and lit my pipe, waiting till the meeting should break up. I thought too that the man had mentioned something of beaver, and I suspected it might be the subject of their meeting. So when they came out I accosted my merchant. “ Well, Hans," says I, “ I hope you o have agreed to give more than four shillings a pound,” "No," says he, “ I cannot give so much, I cannot “ give more than three shillings and six-pence." I then spoke to several other dealers, but they all sung the same song, three and six-pence, three and sixpence. This made it clear to me that my suspicion was right; and that whatever they pretended of meeting to learn good things, the purpose was to consult how to cheat Indians in the price of beaver. Consider but a little Conrad, and you must be of my opinion. If they met so often to learn good things, they would certainty have learned some before this time. But they are still ignorant. You know our practice. If a white man, in travelling through our country, enters one of our cabins

we all treat him as I do you ; we dry him if he is wet; we warm him if he is cold, and give him meat and drink, that he may allay his thirst and hunger; and we spread soft furs for him to rest and sleep on: we de. mand nothing in return* But if I go into a white man's house at Albany, and ask for victuals and drink, they say, get out, you Indian dog. You see they have not yet learned those little good things tha we need no meetings to be instructed in, because our mothers taught them to us when we were children: and therefore it is impossible their meetings should be, as they say, for any such purpose, or have any such effect; they are only to contrive the cheating of Indians in the price of beaver."

* It is remarkable, that in all ages and countries, hospitality has been allowed as the virtue of those, whom the civilized were pleased to call Barbarians; the Greeks celebrated the Scythians for it. The Saracens possessed it eminently, 2:1d it is to this day the reigning virtue of the wild Arabs. St. Paul too, in the relation of his voyage and shipwreck on the island of Melita, say, " The barbarous people shewed us

no little kindness ; for they kindled a fire, and received us

every one, because of the present rain, and because of the “ cold." This note is taken from a small collection of Franklin's papers, printed for Dilly.




London, October, 2, 1770.

I SEE with pleasure that we think pretty much alike upon the subject of English America. We of the colonies have never insisted that we ought to be exempt from contributing to the common expences necessary to support the prosperity of the empire. We only assert, that having parliaments of our own, and not having representatives in that of Great Britain, our parliaments are the only judges of what we can and what we ought to contribute in this case : and that the English parliament has no right to take our money without our consent. In fact, the British em. pire is not a single state ; it comprehends many; and though the parliament of Great Britain has arrogated to itself the power of taxing the colonies, it has no more right to do so, than it has to tax Hanover. We have the same king, but not the same legislatures.

The dispute between the two countries has already cost England many millions sterling, which it has lost in its commerce, and America has in this respect been a proportionable gainer. This commerce consisted principally of superfluities ; objects of Luxury and fashion, which we can well do without; and the resolution we have formed of importing no more till our grievances are redressed, has enabled many of our infant manufactures to take root; and it will not be easy to make

our people abandon them in future, even should a connection more cordial than ever succeed the present troubles.--I have, indeed, no doubt that the parliament of England will finally abandon its present pretensions, and leave to us the peaceable enjoyment of our rights and privileges.





A ZEALOUS advocate for the proposed Federal Constitution, in a certain public assenibly, said, that “ the repugnance of a great part of mankind to good

government was such, that he believed that if an

angel from heaven was to bring down a constitu« tion formed there for our use, it would nevertheless « meet with violent opposition."-He was reproved for the supposed extravagance of the sentiment ; and he did not justify it.-Probably it might not have immediately occurred to him that the experiment had been tried, and that the event was recorded in the most faithful of all histories, the Holy Bible ; otherwise he might, as it seems to me, have supported his opinion by that unexceptionable authority.

The Supreme Being had been pleased to nourish_up a single family, by continued acts of his attentive Providence, 'till it became a great people: and having rescued them from bondage by many miracles perform

ed by his servant Moses, he personally delivered to that chosen servant, in presence of the whole nation, a constitution and code of laws for their observance ; accom. panied and sanctioned with promises of great rewards, and threats of severe punishments, as the consequence of their obedience, or disobedience.

This constitution, though the Deity himself was to be at its head, (and it is therefore called by political writers a Theocracy) could not be carried into execution but by means of his ministers; Aaron and his sons were therefore commissioned to be, with Moses, the first established ministry of the new government.

One would have thought, that the appointment of men who had distinguished themselves in procuring the liberty of the nation, and had hazarded their lives in openly opposing the will of a powerful monarch who would have retained that nation in slavery, might have been an appointment acceptable to a grateful people ; and that a constitution, framed for them by the Deity himself, might on that account have been secure of an universal welcome reception.

Yet there were, in every one of the thirteen tribes, some discontented rest. less spirits, who were continually exciting them to reject the proposed new government, and this from vari. ous motives.

Many still retained an affection for Egypt, the land of their nativity, and these, whenever they felt any

in. convenience or hardship, through the natural and unavoidable effect of their change of situation, exclaimed against their leaders as the authors of their trouble ; and were not only for returning into Egypt, but for stoning their deliverers.* Those inclined to idolatry were displeased that their golden calf was destroyed. Many of the chiefs thought the new constitution might be injurious to their particular interests, that the pro. fitable places would be engrossed by the families and

Numbers chap. xvi.

« 上一頁繼續 »