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FOR ESTABLISHING THE
COLONY OF GEORGIA,
WITH REGARD TO THE
TRADE OF GREAT BRITAIN,
Increase of our People, and the Employment and Support it will afford to great Numbers of our own Poor, as well foreign persecuted Protestants.
With some Account of the Country, and the design of the .
Hoc Nature prrescribit, ut homo homini, quicunque sit, ob earn ipsam Causam taraen, quod is homo sit, consultum velit.
Cicero De Officiis, Lib. III.
FOR ESTABLISHING THE
COLONY OF GEORGIA.
It is undoubtedly a self-evident maxim, that the wealth of a nation consists in the number of her people. But this holds true so far only, as employment is, or can be found for them; if there be any poor, who do not, or cannot add to the riches of their country by labor, they must lie a dead weight on the public; and as every wise government, like the bees, should not suffer any drones in the state, these poor should be situated in such places, where they might be easy themselves, and useful to the commonwealth.
If this can be done by transplanting such as are necessitous and starving here, and consequently unnecessary; it is incumbent on us, at this time more particularly, to promote and enlarge our settlements abroad with unusual industry, when the attention of almost all the powers in Europe is turned towards the improvement of theirs. The French are continually undermining us both in the East and West Indies. The Emperor is attempting the same: Portugal owes her riches chiefly to her plantations: Sweden, Denmark, and Germany find themselves poor, because they have none at present, though they abound with laborious men. The colonies of Spain supply the want of industry in her natives, and trade in her towns. If the scarcity of her people at home is imputed to them, I think it unjust; it is evidently owing to the nature of her government, her religion, and its Inquisition: As may be seen by Italy, who has no colonies, yet is thin of inhabitants, especially in the Pope's dominions. And though of as rich a soil as any in the world, yet her people are poor, and the country in many places uncultivated, by shutting up those, who would serve their Maker in a better manner by being industrious, and would be more useful members of society as ploughmen than as monks.
It is at all times our interest to naturalize as much as we can the products of other countries; especially such as we purchase of foreigners with ready money, or otherwise to our disadvantage; such as are necessary or useful to support, or carry on our manufactures: such as we have a great demand for: and such as we can raise ourselves as good in kind as any other country can furnish us with. Because by so doing we not only gain a new provision for our poor, and an increase of our people by increasing their employment; but by raising such materials ourselves, our manufactures come the cheaper to us, whereby we are enabled to cope with other nations in foreign markets, and at the same time prevent our home consumption of them being a luxury too prejudicial to us.
I hope in the following tract to make these evidently appear, and show the advantages that must accrue to our trade by establishing the colony of Georgia. I shall give some account of the country, and the proceedings of the Trustees, and with candor take notice of the objections that are made to this design, and endeavor to answer them in the clearest and fullest manner I can. I think it may be proved that we have many, who are, and will be useless at home, and that the settling such a colony with these, and the foreign persecuted Protestants, is consistent with the interest and reputation of Great Britain.
To show the disadvantage under which we purchase some of the products of other countries, I shall begin with the Italian trade, the balance of which is every year above three hundred thousand pounds against us, as appears by accounts taken from the custom-house books. And this balance is occasioned by the large importation of silk, bought there with our ready money, though we can raise raw silk of equal goodness in Georgia, and are now enabled to work it up here in as great perfection as the Italians themselves.
That we can raise it, we have sufficient proof by an importation of it from Carolina for several years, though for want of hands only to carry it on, the quantity imported has been too small for any thing more than trials. With many navigable rivers for the convenience of its trade, the country is extremely rich and fruitful. It produces white mulberrytrees wild, and in great abundance. The air, as it is healthy for man, (the latitude about thirty-two,) is also proper for the silk worms; and as care is the principal thing requisite in nourishing and feeding these, every person from childhood to old age can be of use. But the goodness of this silk will appear fully by the following letter from a gentleman, whose name will carry more weight than any thing I can offer in behalf of it. This letter was written to the Trustees for establishing the colony. On application to them, I obtained a copy of it, which is here printed with the gentleman's leave.
To the Trustees for establishing the Colony of Georgia.
Gentlemen, — In writing this answer to the letter, which I had the honor to receive from you, dated the 29th instant, wherein you desire to know my sentiments of an undertaking to raise raw silk in your new settlement in Georgia: of the probability of succeeding therein: the proper steps to be taken to bring that work to perfection: and my opinion of the nature, quality, and use of the raw silk produced in Carolina. It is a great pleasure to me, that from experiments which I made some years ago, I can now, besides my opinion, give you some information concerning that silk, which may be depended on.
The value and usefulness of the undertaking will appear as soon as we consider, that all the silk consumed in this kingdom is now of foreign growth, and manufacture, which costs the nation very great sums of money yearly to purchase, and that the raising our supply thereof in his Majesty's dominions in America, would save us all that money, afford employment to many thousands of his Majesty's subjects, and greatly increase the trade and navigation of Great Britain. It appears to me as beneficial to this kingdom, attended with as little hazard or difficulty, as much wanted, and which may as soon be brought to perfection in a proper climate, as any undertaking so considerable in itself, that I ever heard of. I therefore think, there is a very great probability of its succeeding, if such proper measures are pursued, and such assistance afforded to the poor people at their first setting out, as are necessary to settle, instruct, and encourage them.
The silk produced in Carolina has as much natural strength and beauty, as the silk of Italy, (which is commonly called fine silk,) and by the several experiments I have tried with it, I am satisfied, it may be made to answer the same purposes as Italian silk now does, if it be reeled in short skeins, a fine, clean, and even thread; to effect which, if some experienced persons are at first sent to teach the people, the work will soon be made easy to the meanest capacity, and the value of the silk will be thereby greatly increased.
As for my own part, if at any time you should think I can be of use to promote so good a work, I shall be ready to execute your commands, as far as I am able, and always remain, Gentlemen, your most obedient, humble servant,
Old Jewry, Jan. 31, 1732.
On inquiry I have found, that the Trustees have some time ago taken care of what Sir Thomas Lombe so much recommends to them. They have sent to Italy for a sufficient quantity of silkworms' eggs: they have engaged two or three Piedmontese to go and settle in Georgia, and instruct the people: one of these, a man of capacity and long experience in the business, went with the first embarkation. They likewise in all their grants of land, to those who go at their own expense, as well as those who are sent on the Charity, oblige the people to keep a sufficient number of white mulberry trees standing on every acre, or else to plant them where they are wanted.
If an objection should arise here, that by raising this silk ourselves, and reducing the importation from Italy, we may likewise reduce our exportation thither, by her resolving to take none of our goods: to this it may be answered, she takes none but what she is, and will be obliged to take; and even of that little she takes at present, but a very small part is either sold or consumed in those particular States, from whence we have our supply of Italian silk, which we buy in the dominions of the king of Sardinia, the Venetians, and the Pope, and seldom or never any otherwise than for ready money. As Italy consists of several small governments, whose interests are independent of each other, no disadvantages in trade, arising from the conduct of Great Britain to any one of them, will be either felt or resented by the rest.