Page images

legislatures, and the debates upon them, will have a fimilar conclufion).


March 23, 1799.




Y the original law of nations, war and extir

pation were the punishment of injury. Humanizing by degrees, it admitted slavery instead of death : a farther itep was the exchange of prisoners instead of fiavery; another, to respect more the property of private persons under conquest, and be content with acquired dominion. Why should not this law of nations go on improving ? 'Ages have intervened between its several steps : but as know. ledge of late increases rapidly, why should not those steps be quickened? Why should it not be agreed to, as the future law of nations, that in any war hereafter the following description of men fhould be undisturbed, have the protection of both fides, and be permitted to follow their employ. ments in fecurity ? viz.

1. Cultivators of the earth, because they labour for the fubfilience of mankind.

2. Filhermen, for the same reason.

3. Merchants and traders in unarmed fhips, who accommodate different nations by communicating and exchanging the neceffaries and conveniences of life.

*"41 Artists and mechanics, inhabiting and working in open towns.

It is hardly neceflary to add, that the hospitals of enemies should be unmolested--they ought to be aflisted. It is for the interest of humanity in general, that the occasions of war, and the inducements to it, should be diminished. If rapine be abolished, one of the encouragements to war is taken away; and peace therefore more likely to continue and be lasting.

The practice of robbing merchants on the high seas-a remnant of the ancient piracy--though it may be 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 fhips are surprised and taken. This encourages the first adventurers to fit-out more armed vessels, and many others to do the fame. But the enemy at the same time become more careíul, arm their merchant ships bettel, 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 taken, 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, liave got prizes, the mass of adventurers are blers, the whole expence of fiting out all the privateers dwing 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 befides spend what they get in riot, drunkenness, and debauchery; lose their habits of industry; are rarely fit for any fober business after a peace, and serve only to increase the number of highway men and housebreakers. Even the undertakers who have been fortu. nate, are, by sudden wealth, led into expensive liy. ing, the habit of which continues when the means of lupporting it cease, and finally ruins them : a just punishment for having wantonly and unfeelingly ruined many honest innocent traders and their families, whose fubfiance was employed in serving the common interest of mankind.



Notes copied from Dr. Frunklin's writing in pencil in the

13argin of Judge Foller's celebrated argument in favour of the IMPRESSING or SEAMEN (publisbed in the folio edition of his works ).

UDGE Foster, p. 158.

" Every Man."--The conclusion here from the whole to a part, docs not seem to be good logic. If the alphabet should fiy, Let us all fight for the defence of the whole; that is equal, and may therefore be judi

But if they should say, Let A, B, C, and D, 30 out and fight for us, while we stay at home and sleep in whole ikins; that is not equal, and therefore cannot be just

Ib. " Employ."--If you please. The word figuifies engaging a man to work for me, by offer


[merged small][ocr errors]

him such wages as are sufficient to induce him to prefer, my service. This is very different from compelling him to work on such terms as I think proper,

Ib, “ This service and employment, &c.”These are false facts. His employments and service are not the same Under the merchant he goes in an unarmed veffel, not obliged to fight, but to transport merchan 'ise. In the king's service he is obliged to fight, and to hazard all the dangers of battle. Sickness on board of king's thips is also more common and more mortal.

The mera chant's service too he can quit at the end of the voyage ; not the king's. Also, the merchant's wages are much higher.

1b. "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 feamen.' If the trade would suffer without his service, it is able and ought to be willing to offer him such wages as may in. duce hiin to afford his service voluntarily. Page 1 59

" Private mischief muli be borne " with patience, for preventing a national cala rri

ty.”--Where is this maxim in law and good policy to be found? And how can that be a maxim which is not consistent with common sense ? li the maxim had been, that private mischief, which prevent a national calamity, ought to be generously compensated by the nation, one might underfiand it: but that such private mischiefs are only to be borne with patience, is absurd !

Ib. " The expedient, &c. And, &c." (PaTagraphs 2 and 3.;Twenty ineffectual or inconVOL. II.


venient schemes will not juftify one that is trojelha

Ib. “ Upon the foot of, &c,"Your reasoning indeed, like a lie, ftands 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 aythor speaks of impresling, page 158, he diminiflies the horror of the practice as much as posible, by presenting to the mind one failor only suffering hardship (as he renderly calls it) in some particular cases only: and he places against this private mischief the inconvenience to the trade of the kingdom.But if, as he fupposes is often the case, the sailor who is presled, and obliged to serve for the defence of trade, at the rate of twenty five shillings a month, could get thrre pounds fifteen shillings in the merchant's service, you take from him fifty shillings a month; and if you have a 100,000 in your service, you rob: this honest industrous part of society, and their poor families of 250,0sol. per month, or three millions a year, and at the same time oblige them to hazard their lives in fighting for the defence of your trade; to the defence of which all ought indeed to contribute (and sailors among the rest) in proportion to their profits by it; but this three millions as more than their share, if they did not their perforis ; but when you force that, merhinks jou nould excuse the other." 5J0975 Lin

Buitrit may be faid, to give the king's leanen merchant's wages would cost the nation too much, and call for more taxes. The question then wil anount:vthis: whether it be just id a 'cominoni vy, that the richer spart should compel the poetër

pay with

« PreviousContinue »