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Besides these great quantities of flax and hemp which are imported rough, great quantities likewise are brought from thence ready drest, and the article of linen from Russia is very considerable. If then sufficient quantities of rough flax can be raised in Georgia, and our linen manufactory at home encouraged, as it was in king William's reign, the balance of trade with Russia will be on our side, instead of being so much against us, and we shall gain much more employment for our people here.
Though these articles are so very considerable, and enough to justify the settling such a colony as Georgia; they are not the only ones in which she will be advantageous to us. She can supply us with indigo, cochineal, olives, dying woods, and drugs of various kinds, and many others which are needless to enumerate. One article more I shall mention, viz. wine, of which (as she is about the same latitude with Madeira) she may raise, with proper application and care, sufficient quantities, not only for part of our consumption at home, but also for the supply of our other plantations, instead of their going to Madeira for it. The country abounds with variety of grapes, and the Madeira vines are known to thrive there extremely well. A gentleman of great experience in Botany, who has a salary from the Trustees, by a particular contribution of some noblemen and gentlemen for that purpose, sailed from hence almost five months ago, to procure the seeds and roots of all useful plants. He has already, I hear, sent from Madeira a great number of malmsey, and other vines to Charlestown, for the use of Georgia, with proper instructions for cultivating the vines, and making the wine. · If it is granted then, that great benefits will arise to our trade from such a colony, which is to interfere as little as possible with the products of our other plantations; the next consideration is, whether this can, or should be established by our people, who are useless at home, or whether we have any who are so. And here it will be proper to take notice of two objections (the only ones I have heard) that have been started by some people to this design, and for various reasons. By some from their want of attention to, and examination of it, and the real state of our trade: by some, from their constant diffidence of the success of any undertaking, how good soever the prospect may be : by some, from their natural
disposition to censure every thing, in which they are not themselves concerned, and their thinking another man's generosity and public spirit a tacit reflection on their want of them: by some from their unwillingness to contribute, and a desire to cover their avarice under a dislike of their design: and by others, from a sincere opinion of the force of the objections, and the prejudice this colony may be to England.
To these last I would offer such arguments as occur to me in answer to their objections, and hope they will be found as satisfactory, as they appear to me convincing.
Obj. 1. Our colonies may in time grow too great for us, and throw off their dependency.
Obj. 2. The planting such 'a colony will take off our people, who are wanted to cultivate our lands at home.
These are objections which stand against all colonies in general, and the last of them (as appears from the writings of Sir Josiah Child and Mr. Penn) has been made to the settling all our old ones; and yet I will appeal to every man of reflection and knowledge, whether our trade is not at present chiefly supported by them.,
It is well known how indefatigable our neighbors have been in promoting their foreign settlements ever since the last war; so that the more they can raise there for their own supplies, the less occasion they must have for us. It is notorious likewise, what footing the French have on the continent in America, and with what industry they have been, and will be extending themselves. Is it reasonable then to let so rich and fertile a country fall entirely into their possession? Or at best, to let our part of it lay absolutely useless to us, while they are making so great an improvement of theirs ? No certainly; we should anticipate them, and as we have the most convenient part of it, we should secure it, and be making our advantages, at the same time they are pursuing theirs with such application and steadiness.
But to answer these objections in a more particular manner.
1. Our colonies may in time grow too great for us, and throw off their dependency.
If they are governed by such mild and wholesome laws as the English are; if these laws give them so full a security of their properties, is it to be imagined they will have recourse to a foreign power, where all their possessions must
become immediately precarious ? But, says the objector, as they want nothing from us, they may set up for an independency, and form themselves into a government of their own. To this it may be said, they do, and always will retain a love for their native country: we see every day, that in most of the plantations as they raise their families, they send their children hither for education; and as they raise their estates, they send over the produce of their labor to be vested in our funds, or in the purchase of our lands, which are the best hostages we can have for their behavior: while they are free, they never run the risk of losing their possessions, and gaining the displeasure of their mother country; they will always be secure while our constitution is preserved ; till we are oppressed at home, they will never think of an independency: and when we are, it will be of little consequence to us what will become of our colonies.
But should this objection have any force against some of our other colonies, I think it cannot hold against this of Georgia, as England must be the market for the greatest part of her produce, as her people must send to England for all their manufactures, and as they will be settled with a stricter regard to the interests of their native country, and a more equal distribution of lands, the want of which has been so prejudicial to the well-settling of Jamaica. If there should be any reason then to apprehend a danger from any of our other settlements, it would certainly be prudent to have some absolutely dependent upon us, that might be a balance to the power of the others.
So short an answer may perhaps be sufficient to clear up an objection, in which every man, who will consider it, may soon satisfy himself.
The other, as it seems at first view of more consequence, will require an answer more ample.
2. The planting such a colony will take off our people, who are wanted to cultivate our lands at home.
That there is a want of people for the tillage of our lands, in many parts of the country, I will readily acknowledge. But to what is this owing? Among other reasons, apparently to the management of those schools, which are in almost every town for the education of our poor; to a charity, which I am far from thinking ought to be suppressed, but certainly calls for a regulation. The youth, who are
sent to these schools, should, at the same time they are instructed, be inured to the labor of the country, that, as they grow up in strength, they may improve in the knowledge of their business, and get a habit of labor, and even a love of it. Whereas by being kept wholly to their writing and reading, till they are thought qualified to maintain themselves in a better manner, they are sent up to London to be apprentices in our little trades, or to be servants in families. And to this is owing the number of idle and necessitous people, with which the town abounds, and of which every man must see too many instances every day of his life; to this must be imputed that all our trades are overstocked, and the daily complaints we hear from tradesmen, that they starve one another. Will these people, when reduced, go to the plough? Can any man think they will? Does any one see they do? If one of them goes into the country, he cannot, by his inexperience, and want of strength, do half the work of an able laborer; consequently no farmer will employ him, or, if he does, will give him more than half the wages.' There may be other causes of the ruin of tradesmen, the fluctuating of trade from one place to another, or the decay of it; our newspapers tell us, that on a strict and partial inquiry, eight thousand houses in the city and suburbs are found to be at present uninhabited, and the former owners of most of them entirely ruined. Will a broken mercer, a weaver, or periwig-maker, how industrious soever, who has been used to a life less laborious than that of the country, go with his family to an employment, of which he has no knowledge, and for which he is not qualified ? where'at the best he cannot earn above five shillings per week, and may be some part of the year without work, and in a place, where as a stranger the parish will never give him an allowance? What then is he to do? He cannot throw himself into another trade, which has the same complaint as his own, the being overstocked. We see what he does, he goes into another country to give them the benefit of his labor, and communicates to them perhaps the knowledge of some useful manufactury to our prejudice, or else he lives some time upon his credit, to the absolute ruin of himself, and the hurt of his neighbor, or runs into villany of any kind for his support. Are not these people useless to the public? not only so, but a burthen ? Is it not worth while to transplant
them to a place, where they may be of service, and a great one ?
If it should be asked here, How will these people, who cannot work at the plough at home, be able to go through the same labor abroad? The answer is obvious. Their fatigue, unless at first, will not be so great, as the climate is so much kinder, and the soil so much more fruitful. Besides, though a man, who has not been inured to the labor of the country, and has a family, will not go to the plough for so poor a support of them, as a laborer's hire, and even this likewise precarious; yet he will not repine at any fatigue, when it is on an estate of his own, and his gains from this estate will rise in proportion to his labor. Add to this, the high value of the commodities to be raised there, and the low prices of provisions will make it easy to conceive, that the man, who cannot do half the work of an able man here, may earn a sufficient provision for himself and family in Georgia, especially when he pays neither rent nor taxes for his lands.
If these people are of no benefit to the community, what are all those who are thrown into prison for debt? I believe the calculation will not be thought immodest, if I estimate these at four thousand every year; and that above one third part of the debts is never recovered hereby. If then half of these, or only five hundred of them were to be sent every year into Georgia, to be incorporated with those foreign protestants, who are expelled their own countries for religion, what great improvements might not be expected in our trade, when those, as well as the foreigners, would be so many new subjects gained by England ? For while they are in prison, they are absolutely lost, the public loses their labor, and their knowledge. If they take the benefit of the act of parliament, that allows them liberty on the delivery of their all to their creditors, they come naked into the world again; as they have no money, and little credit, they find it almost impossible to get into business, especially when our trades are overstocked; they therefore by contracting new debts, must return again into prison, or, how honest soever their dispositions may be, by idleness and necessity will be forced into bad courses, such as begging, cheating, or robbing. These then likewise are useless to the state, not only so, but dangerous. But these (it will be said) may be ser