Page images
PDF
EPUB

Account of the North American States.

24

develope the fprings of action. I have devoted confiderable attention to this fub ject, and flatter myself that I have selected a fund of materials which will not be found wholly uninterefting in a commercial and political point of view.

The laws in this country breathe a fpirit of humanity; and the inhabitants, in general, their private intereft out of the question, may be faid to be well-difpofed. An exception, however, must be made with efpect to the rich, overgrown merchants, who remember, with regret, the æra of the British monarchy, and entertain a ftrong predilection for titles and other marks of diftinction. By far the majority are favourable to the French; and in the laft cicction for a mayor, and other ma giftrates, in Philadelphia, the choice fell upon the avowed partizans of the French Republic.

With refpect to religion, every denomination is tolerated. This renders the inhabitants tractable and gentle, as no religious eftablishment is exclufively protected by government; but, perhaps, there is hardly a Chriftian country where lefs genuine piety is to be met with. Young people are regular in their attendance at church, because they are well aware that, without a due regard to appearances, they could obtain no advantageous fituation, form no eligible matrimonial connections, or eftablish themselves with credit in life. Men of advanced years frequent church through habit, or to obtain the confidence of their respective focieties, and fecure an influence in the duection of their temporal concerns. A few pious fouls there are, who have no other view in their devotion than to commune with the Supreme, comfort their fellow-creatures under afflictions, and inculcate the divine precepts of morality, by actions and virtuous example, rather than by idie ceremony.

In this country no tythes nor royalties are paid. Whilft fubjected to the British government, the United States of America refufed to admit the Catholics to any public office; but, fince their emancipation from the British yoke, this unjuft law is abolished; and men of every perfuafion are indifcriminately admitted to a participation in all the functions of government. Catholics, of the Greek and Romish church, Prefbyterians, Quakers, Turks, and Jews, are all equally eligible to public fituations, and are at liberty to adore the Supreme, according to the dictates of their confcience. There are, likewife, a number of Separatifs and Seckers in the colonies, who belong to no particular fect, but

[Jan.

profefs to follow, as their fole guide, the impulfe of confcience, without attaching themselves to any individual fociety. Toleration in America is carried to an extent greater than even in France. It is but lately that a Prefbyterian church elected for their minifter a negro from Guinea, a man of exemplary character, and of no contemptible abilities, who acquits himself with credit in his new vocation. I have frequently seen him officiate in his robes, and have heard him preach with great fatisfaction; and I make no doubt but he will prove an ufeful acquifition to his fociety."

The population of the United States amounts to about five millions of inhabitants, exclufive of the western fettlements, which are well peopled, and contain, at a moderate calculation, 120,000 perfons. But it must be taken into confideration, that the fum total of inhabitants doubles every fourteen years, as has been clearly fubftantiated and afcertained by exact official documents: this gives a more rapid increafe than Franklin has ftated.

Agriculture and commerce form, almost without exception, the principal empleyment of the inhabitants: and were it not that the rich merchants discourage, by every poffible means, the progrefs and improvement of American manufactures, in order to monopolize the exclufive commerce with England, by which they accumulate immenfe fortunes in a very fhort time, arts and manufactures would be in a highly flourishing state. The fingle branch of fhip-building employs, in this country, feveral thousands of hands, At this very moment, when France pays after the rate of 300 livres per ton for vesfels built of whole deal, and very moderate folidity, the American fhipwright conftructs his veffels of red cedar, or oak, which wood is of a far fuperior quality, and will laft double the time, than the timber made ufe of in Europe; yet, notwithftanding thefe advantages, and although the American veffels are built upon a better and more folid conftruction, they may be purchafed at the rate of 170-livres per ton, completely finished, and ready for fea. If the French Republic should at any time ftand in need of 20,000 ton, in new veffels, the United States can furnish them at the price above ftated, which, in time of peace, would fuftain a confider able abatement.

The annual exports of the United States, according to authentic documents, exceed twenty-fix millions of dollars, exclufive of what has not been entered at the cuftums.

The

United States. Query on Brewing.

1798.]

The speculation in land finds employment for a great number of adventurers, fome few of whom acquire immenfe fortunes, at the expence of the major part, who ruin themselves.

I know of no work, published in America, deferving of particular mention, in a grand national point of view. Their Journals are a chaotic affemblage of lies, where even commercial advertisements are altered and disfigured. Some Anglo'American authors have written esteemed moral works; but thefe are fo voluminous, fo dear, and fo little read, that they ferve here, as in Europe, to fupport the pomp of a library, which is vifited from a motive of curiofity, without reaping any utility from it.

The grand fource of the riches of the Americans refults from the fertility of their territory, the temperature of the climate, and the cheap price of land, which holds out an irrefiftible temptation to emigrants from other countries. The traffic in land is the first object of attention with the monied men, who may purchase acres by the thousand, at the rate of three fols per acre. This land they afterwards fell to fome poor emigrant for two francs, who is frequently obliged to relinquish his purchase, for want of hands and money to cultivate it, and fells it for twenty fols per acre, to a new adventurer, before a fingle plough has paffed over it. Agriculture is, notwithstanding, in general eftimation; but it is only in the interior of the United States that it is purfued with proper activity. The frontiers of this vaft empire confift of a mere affemblage of deferts, inhabited by a few ftraggling, unfortunate fanatics, who fubfift upon milk, potatoes, and Indian corn.

The American manufactures, although difcouraged by commercial defpotifm, are in a ftare of gradual, though but flow, improvement. Inventions, and machines for manufacturing purpofes, are daily brought nearer to perfection, and it may, with ftrict truth, be affirmed, that America, in this refpect, far furpaffes Europe. The truth of this affertion, I hope to establish by a collection of defigns, taken from actual pieces of mechanifm, which I have in agitation to publifh. At the diftance of about three miles from Philadelphia, is a water-mill, belonging to a Mr. Johnfon, formed upon a very ingenious conftruction, which, with the affittance of only two men, performs as much work as could be executed on the common principle by the united efforts of 300 perfons. Thefe MONTHLY MAG. XXVII.

25

machines, which fimplify labour, diminish the expence of the commodities, fave a multitude of hands, and multiply the manufacturer's profits, are permanent fources of opulence and property. Frank. lin, Rittenhouse, and other ingenious mechanics, have enriched the American States with an incredible variety of useful machines, of which Europe has not the malleft idea. I have in my poffeffion exact plans of a great number of them.

I have frequently been in company with VOLNEY. Our difcourfe generally turned upon the fubject of our travels. I am at prefent lodged in his apartments, from whence I write this letter. He had undertaken a journey to Carolina and fome of the fettlements on the Ohio. I had visited this year the northern diftricts of the United States, Long Ifland, the states of New York, Jerfey, Connecticut, and Maryland. I have entered into an agreement with VOLNEY to vifit this fpring the fouthern provinces,with the western fettlements, having been appointed, in the last general affembly of the Quakers at Philadelphia, one of their deputies to vifit the Indian nations, and to establish, if poffible, fome handicraft bufinefs among them, as labourers, fmiths, carpenters, &c. in hopes of introducing fome degree of civilization among the western tribes, which we charitably are in the habit of diftinguishing by the appellation of favages, though, in fact, they poffefs more humanity than many civilized nations. My intention is to vifit the Mohawks, the Delawares, the Shawanefe, in one word, to glean, among the Indian tribes and aborigines of North America, all the moral and phyfical intelligence which may fall in my way.

To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine, IF

SIR,

it is not making an improper ufe of your valuable Mifcellany, and occupying a place that might be more ufefully employed, it would greatly oblige me, and, I doubt not, add to the comfort of many families in the country, that brew their own beer, if any of your numerous correfpondents would anfwer the two following Queries:-In brewing ale, at what degree of heat, on Fahrenheit's fcale, ought the water to be when it is let off into the math-tub to the malt? Likewife, at what deg ee the wort fhould be, when the yeaft is added to excite fermentation? These two points are well known to all public brewers, but I have not met with any treatife on brewing in which they are afcertained. Combrun is become fo fearce, I have not been E able

1

Plan of National Education....Mr. Dyer on Coins.

[ocr errors]

26

able to procure it, or poffibly might from
"that have obtained the information I now
folicit.
I am, your's, &c.
Ludlow, Dec. 20, 1797.

Jarti

Thould be devoted to fuch as might inure them to fatigue; or, occupied with fuch amufements as might usefully direct their N. S. T. future labours.

A few benevolent men, but whofe funds were too fmall to realize their defigns, lately had a plan in contemplation, which though, perhaps, impracticable under an adminiftration jealous of the advancement of knowledge, was certainly calculated to effect much good.

SIR,

To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine. THE establishment of national fchools in France may at least be confidered as one benefit arifing out of the progrefs of the revolution, and in proportion as the defign matures and beconies general, muft eminently promote the ends of a good government, inasmuch as every citizen will be taught to feel his weight and confequence in a flate where talents and virtue form the criteria of promotion. Such inftitutions, on a fimilar plan, have long been the defideratum of this country. In England, the education of youth has been uniformly, except in fome few inftances, intrusted to the moft ignorant and incapable, or to fchoolmen who heated with the prejudices of a college, view the progrefs of the mind with diftruft, and treat its aptitude with neglect.

But these are schemes of national im provement to which fociety at prefent does not feers competent. Prodigal and luxurious, tenacious of rank and fond of dif tinctions, we facrifice dignity of character and the economy of virtue to useless and fplendid exhibitions, which fink and deftroy the elevation of moral fentiment and the fenfe of public duty. Governments likewife tremble at the throb of public virtue, and feel fhaken to their centres when mankind show the least difpofition to thake off their mental ftupor, or to affert the dignity of the human understanding.

If, however, to inform the mind and yet direct it, fo that it may be useful to the community and honourable to its country; and that, while it feeks the enjoyments of literary and philofophical inftruction, it may contemplate without difguft the fortune compel us to recur to; are obfubordinate offices, neceffity and want of jects worthy the confideration of the legiflator and philanthropift, we should adopt fome fuch inflitution as that propofed, and thus prepare the way for the happiness of mankind. Let, fir, the members of any ftate, who ought all to be the equal care of a wife government, mingle with one another; let them be taught in the fame fchools, where their daily toil will be mutual, their emulation kindred. The dif. ferent fpecies of inftruction are open to all, and the dread, that in proportion as you enlighten a people, you unfit them for the laborious concerns of life, will not be felt where the affections are cherished as reciprocal, and where obedience is lefs the effect of duty, than the inclination of regard.

Jan. 15, 1798.

Z. W. R.

The benefits of their establishment extended to all degrees of people, who were to partake equally in their plan of inftruction. A fchool-houfe was to be erected; the experiment was first to be tried in the country, to which every man in the vicinity or at a distance, was at liberty to fend his children. The fyftem of education was likewife different from that generally purfued, it being more the object of the eftablishment to render its pupils practically wife than philologically learned; and as those who formed the fociety were fenfible, that "lefs danger is to be appretended from ignorance than error," a pure and unadulterate fyttem of morality fhould be taught, divefted of scholaftic induction, and arifing fimply out of principles of conciliation and mutual juftice. It was like wife intended to inftruct the boys in the cominon law of the land, and to give them fach a neceffary infight into the conftitutution of their country, as might enable them to appreciate the value of its fundamendal principles, and qualify them for the difcharge of their duty. All diftinctions, but thofe of fuperior merit, to be carefully avoided; while their leifure hours, as recommended by Rouffeau,

To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.

SIR,

MANY months back, appeared in your

Magazine, fome good obfervations on PROVINCIAL COINS. On perufing them, I was led to pay the fubject a more ferious attention, than I had been accuftomed to do, and wifhed to give the ftudy an useful direction; being well aware that many, both writers and collectors,have trifled about medals, and expofed themfelves to deferved ridicule. Ì fent a fhort letter on the fubject to your Repofitory, accompanied with a medal facred to the caufe of FREEDOM; it being defigned to preferve the remembrance of the independent conduct

Doubts as to Toads found in Stone.

1798.]

conduct of the Herefordshire yeomanry, in their election of Robert Biddolph, efq. to be their reprefcutative in parliament; the circumstances of that appointment, and the generous refolutions that followed, deferve the moft honourable mention; and are worthy not only of being held up to general imitation in modern times, but of being handed down in the most refpectful manner to pofterity: for it may with truth be afferted, that there is not a fingle member in the House of Commons, who has been placed there by a conduct equally fpirited and popular.

The letter was accompanied with a propofal, that when medals were ftruck, entitled to public notice, one fhould be fent to your Magazine; and it was fubmitted to your judgment, whether it might por be at opce agreeable and inftructive to your readers to prefent them with an engraving of it.

This letter was a mere hint, and appeared in your Magazine: but I wished to afcertain, how far it was confiftent with your plan, to allow the fubject a more ample difcuffion. I accordingly propofed, if agreeable, to refume it, and to fend an explanation of the Herefordshire medal.

The insertion of that letter I confidered as an answer to my queftion; and accord. ingly, in conformity with my promife, fent a fecond letter, containing fome ob. fervations on medals, firft, in reference to ancient literature, after the manner of Spanheim, Villalpandus, and Addifon; and afterwards, in reference to modern times, with a few particulars concerning the Herefordshire election, explanatory of the medal. This last letter never made its appearance.

I, at firft, apprehended, that the effay might not fuit the genius of your Repofitory, going, as it did, into a minute examination, and making refpectful mention of an art that is frequently treated as trifling. But on enquiry I have been informed that the printer has miflaid it. I beg permiffion, therefore, to give this information; otherwife 1 am liable to be charged with levity, or inadvertence. For I pledged myself to write on the fubject, if agreeable to your wishes; and your infertion of my first letter, will be confidered in the light of a compliance with my requcft: a farther reafon for my writing will be made to arife from a call of one of your correfpondents, unknown to me, to fulfil my engagement. My fecond letter was communicated to you, before that letter made its appearance. I'am, fir, &c. 1774 Jan. 5, 1798. G. D.

27

To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine SIR,

THE reciprocal defire to communicate and to to extraordinary yarra, tions, efpecially fuch as appear to contra dict the ufual courfe of nature, is every where prevalent among mankind. Tales of ghofts and witches, once the fruitful fource of the marvellous, have now ceafed to affect even the vulgar. But fingular deviations from what we are accustomed to fee, are still received with peculiar avi. dity. To the operation of this principle, I am inclined to refer the various narra tives with which you have been favoured by feveral correfpondents, of toads found fut up in folid rocks, of flate, of freeftone, and even of marble, of which laft there is a specimen in the Marquis of Rockingham's feat in Yorkshire,

34

I have obferved a firiking peculiarity in all the inftances brought forward in your Magazine. No one is given by an eye-witness of the fact, but always on the authority of fome perfon of undoubted veracity, that is, in whom the narrator had implicit belief. I need hardly obferve, fir, how much in this refpect thefe ftories refemble the tales of ghosts, which are always given at fecond-hand, and we can never fee the perfon, who, himself, faw the ghott. Now, fir, as to me it is a real iniracle, that an animal which has lungs, and confequently requires ai that has a ftomach, and organs of digeltion, and therefore ftands in need of food; that has bulk and dimentions, and therefore occupies fpace; fhould be found in the centre of a folid rock, where there is neither air,food, nor vacancy-for I think no man will be hardy enough to affert that a toad can live during the centuries required to form ftone; I must be permitted, till the phenomenon is eftablished by better authenticated proofs than have yet been ftated, to abide by the golden rule laid down by Mr. Hume, viz. to believe in the leffer miracle. Surely it is more probable that all thefe people should be. miftaken, than that the courfe of nature fhould be fo unaccountably perverted. An inclination for the marvellous is a fin that cafily befets us, and is with dif ficulty repelled: the best mode of curing it, is an attenti e study of nature, which not only teaches us that her laws are uniform, but fatisfies that inclination of the mind for the wonderful, by unfolding the real wonders with which every part of creation abounds. I am, fir, your's, &c.

V

f

2

A. P. B.

28 Plagiarism detected....Unnecessary Expence in Printing. [Jan

To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.

SIR,

To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.

SIR,

A CORRESPONDENT figning himfelf N. in a letter inferted in the Monthly Magazine for October laft, re. quefted an explanation of that article of our creed, "the Communion of Saints" He will find, I think, a very fatisfactory one in archbishop Secker's 14th Lecture on the Catechifm of the Church of EngJand, wherein he conceives it to mean that communion of benevolence, kind offices, inftruction and edification, which should be among all good Chriftians. B. G.

But men in the middling rank of life cannot afford to indulge in luxuries of the table, neither can they afford luxuries in books; plain well-dreffed meat is better diet for them than turtle-foup, and plain

To the Editor of the Monthly Magazine.

SIR,

GREAT wits jump" fays the old well-printed books are more proper for

them than large cream-coloured, wire-wove, bot-preffed, ones. Occafionally, they may fpare a guinea to purchase a luxury, but they must more commonly content them. felves with humble neceffaries.

'me or that we were two

<<

proverb; now, Mr. Editor, were you and I to fet down in our respective clofets (quære garrets?) with an intention of favouring the world with our compofi. tions on the fame given fubject; and fuppofing, after publication, it fhould be difcovered that, not only an identity of re-. flections, but an identity of expreffing thofe reflections, pervaded the whole what would the world fay-What, but that I had pillaged from you-or you from compofite knaves?"-Granted! well then, to my fubject: amongst the numerous works of Oliver Goldfmith, his Hiftory of England in three vols. 8vo. was efteemed one of his beft publications, and the fale was in proportion to the estimation: during his lifetime, was published an abridgement of the fame, confeffedly by himself. Some years afterwards, I believe, appeared another hiftory, "In a Series of Letters from a Nobleman to his Son," which has vulgarly been afcribed to Lord Lyttelton!

It is to be wished that authors would take this into confideration; their vanity may be increafed by the appearance of their writings on a gloffy, thick creamcoloured paper, and occafionally this mode of publication may be indulged in, and approved of; but when an author publishes an interefting work, of general utility, he ought to confider that many perfons might obtain benefit and instruction from his book, if they could purchase it at a moderate price, but they cannot afford to buy large cream coloured, wirewove paper, bot-preff. d.

On perufing thefe two abridgments (for the "Letters" are nothing more) the moft glaring famenefs is difcoverable through the whole: the fame reflections, and the very fame expreffion of them, every where occur: the only difference, where there is any, is merely occafioned by the ufe of the fecond perfon, as is ufual in an epiftolary form, or the fame fentiment sometimes thinly gauzed over by a variation of the expreffion. To felect inftances would be needlefs-a ready example will be found throughout the whole.-From hence it appears that the Letters" are merely Goldsmith's Hiftory, put into that form by foine needy bookfeller, or more needy author. Ingeni largitor venter' fays DR. PANGLOSS.

I am induced to addrefs this letter to you, from having feen a late publication of Dr. Rollo, on Diabetes Mellitus, in 2 vols. 8vo. beautifully printed on hotpreffed paper, price twelve fhillings in boards. Thefe volumes contain much interefting information for medical practitioners, concerning a difeafe hitherto almoft conftantly incurable, but which this work pr ofeffes to point out a mode of curing. If this publication was intended to prove ferviceable to mankind, treffing difeafe, it ought to have been by giving new light refpecting this dif published at fuch a price, as to have been within the reach of the generality of practitioners, and this it might cafily have been, had it been printed in a lefs been published in one Svo. volume, fuffplendid manner. I think it might have ficiently well printed for all useful purpofes, for ux or feven fhillings, and this would have been more particularly proper, because it seems probable, from the

[ocr errors]

THE very high state of improvement to which the art of printing has arrived, muft give great pleasure to every lover of literary purfuits. He reads with peculiar delight, a book printed with a clear type and on good paper, and en. joys a high luxury when most beautiful typography is imprefied upon large, thick cream-coloured, wire-wove paper, botprefed.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »