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Title: Anmerkungen über Nordamerika. English - Achenwall's Observations on North America
Author: Achenwall, Gottfried, 1719-1772
Language: English
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                          ACHENWALL'S OBSERVATIONS

                                     ON

                                NORTH AMERICA

                                    1767


                                TRANSLATED BY

                              J. G. ROSENGARTEN



  _Reprinted from the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography,
                                January, 1903_



                                PHILADELPHIA
                                    1903



                     ACHENWALL'S OBSERVATIONS ON NORTH
                                AMERICA, 1767.


     [Franklin paid a short visit to Germany in the summer of 1766, and
     at Göttingen met a number of the professors of the University. One
     of them, Professor Achenwall, published in the "Hanoverian
     Magazine," in the volume beginning 1767, p. 258, etc., "Some
     Observations on North America and the British Colonies from verbal
     information of Dr. Franklin," and this article was reprinted in
     Frankfort and Leipsic in 1769. There is a copy of this reprint in
     the Loganian Library, from which the following translation was
     made. There is a copy of the Magazine in the Astor Library, New
     York. It is of interest as showing the impression made by Franklin
     on his German auditors, although it is clear that Achenwall did not
     report quite correctly.--J. G. R.]

The most complete work on the British Colonies in North America is the
Summary historical and political by William Douglas, of which the second
improved edition was published in London, 1760, in two 8vo. volumes.
That doctor collected material for many years and was in America, and
gives valuable intelligence, especially of the Colonies he visited, but
his book has no system. Prof. Kalm has much that is good in his travels
in North America, and often cites Franklin, but did not altogether
understand what he said, and Franklin never saw Kalm's book until he
came across a German translation in Hanover.

The east coast of North America, where the British Colonies lie, is
generally colder than the countries on the same stretch in Europe, nor
has it been observed that owing to the decay of forests and cultivation
the climate is becoming noticeably milder. Almost the whole eastern
coast of North America is sandy, many little islands along the coast are
sand banks, thrown up gradually by the sea. The coast of Florida is
sandy and unfruitful, but the interior is good land. The native Indians
consist of many small nations, each with its own language, quite
different from that of their neighbors. They are all of one figure as if
descended from a common ancestor,--all brown in color, with straight
black hair, eyes all of one color, and all beardless, and they call
Europeans the bearded nation. They live in the wilds, except a few that
have been gathered in villages and are partly civilized. They live on
plants and by hunting, without farms or cattle, chickens, horses etc.

Before the arrival of Europeans, their important plants were Turkish
corn or maize; a sort of beans; tobacco. Maize and Tobacco are found
only in America, and were brought from the new world to the old. Maize
and Beans they cook and use bear fat in place of butter as dressing, but
no salt. Smoking tobacco is an old custom, especially at their national
gatherings. These three plants they look on as a special gift of heaven.
According to an old tradition, an American found a handsome young woman
sitting on a hill,--who in acknowledging a deep bow, said she came from
above and at the end of a year would come again to the same hill. She
was there again at that time, on her right hand Maize, on her left
Beans, and on her lap Tobacco, and these three she left as a present for
the American. Before Europeans brought them, there were no other grain
or vegetables known than maize and beans, but all like the newcomers
have increased wonderfully. The Spanish historian de Solis is altogether
wrong in saying that Mexico at the time of the invasion, was a populous
and mighty state. The Mexicans were savages, without art or knowledge,
and how could they form a great state? They had neither farming nor
cattle and could not find food for a large population nor had they any
means of transportation. The weapons of the savages in North America are
bows and arrows, and they shoot with the teeth of wild animals. They
recognize some of the principles of natural law and observe them even
with their enemies. They scalp usually only the dead,--then they cut it
off with a sharp weapon and keep it as a sign of victory. Sometimes the
victim comes to life,--some such are in Pennsylvania, for scalping is
not necessarily mortal. They fight on foot, for they have no horses. The
savages living in western Pennsylvania were called by the French
Iroquois. The English call them the Five Nations or the Confederate
Indians,--they are united and were so long before the English settled.
The Mohawks first united with another nation and others joined later.
Now there are seven altogether so united. They have their regular stated
meetings and their great council considers the general good. The members
are known only by their different languages. They are called subjects of
the King, but they are not subject to British laws, and pay no taxes,
but the Colonists give them a tribute of presents. Their number does not
increase. Those living near the Europeans steadily diminish in numbers
and strength. Their two sexes are of a cold nature,--the mothers live
alone at and after the birth of children and during the years they
suckle them,--often (owing to the absence of soft food) until their
young can eat meat. Small pox and rum have played sad havoc among them.

The English settlements in North America have grown much more slowly
than those in the West Indies, where they came about 1640, and in twenty
years had flourishing Colonies, such as Barbadoes. In North America the
Colonists came sixty years before, but at the end of the 17th Century
were small in number and in exports. This is due to the rich production
of the Sugar Islands, the absence of Indians, and the contraband trade
with Spain. The North American Colonies have in the 18th Century greatly
increased in population and wealth, far beyond the West India Islands.

Franklin in a book published in 1751 showed that the native born
foreigners double every 25 years, in addition is the steady emigration,
and some Colonies thus double their population in 18, some in 16, and
some in 14 years. This will go on as long as there is plenty of farm
land, and this increases largely with the acquisition of Canada and
Louisiana. In 1750 there were a million, Douglas in his book estimated
that in 1760 there were 1,051,000, besides blacks and soldiers,--on that
basis in 1775 there will be 2 millions, and at the close of the 18th
Century, 4 millions. To attract foreigners, an Act of Parliament granted
English citizenship to every Protestant after seven years' residence, a
right that in England can only be obtained with great expense and
trouble by a special Act of Parliament. The Certificate of the
Provincial authorities costs only a few shillings and is good through
all England.

Near the coast and some miles beyond, all the Middle Colonies are
settled, and new improvements are extending deeper in the interior. In
Pennsylvania, where the Penn family own all the land, any one who wants
to improve the land, chooses a piece, pays the landlord for 100 acres 10
Pound Sterling local money, and binds himself to pay an annual rent of
half a penny for each acre,--he then becomes absolute owner, and the
little ground rent can never be increased. Sometimes the hunter builds a
wooden hut, and the nearest neighbors in the wilderness help cut the
timber, build the log hut, fill the crevices with mud, put on the roof
and put in windows and doors, and in return the owner pays them with a
gallon of brandy, and by a like good service in turn. Then he lays out
his garden and pasture and fields, cuts out the underbrush, tops the big
trees and strips the bark, so that he can sow and reap, the trees die
and hurt neither land nor crops. Many hunters have thus settled the
wilderness,--they are soon followed by poor Scotch or Irish who are
looking for homes,--these they find in this half improved
condition,--they buy from the hunters, get a patent from the
Proprietors, paying the usual charge. The hunter moves off into the
wilderness and goes to work again. The Scotch or Irishman completes the
half finished task, builds a better house of sawed timber, uses the old
log hut for a stable, later builds a house of brick and his timber house
is a good barn. Scotch and Irish often sell to the Germans, of whom from
90 to 100,000 live in Pennsylvania, and prefer to put all their earnings
into land and improvements. The Scotch or Irish are satisfied with a
fair profit, put the capital into another farm, leaving the Germans
owners of the old farms. In Pennsylvania there is no law to prevent
cutting up a farm into very small holdings nor to forbid the purchase of
very large bodies of land. There is no danger from either course, for
there is land enough for rich and poor, and the former prefer the larger
profits from trade to the small return from land. In New England, unlike
Pennsylvania, a good deal of land is let to farmers, for there are many
rich owners of large estates,--this is so too in the Carolinas, and in
other Colonies where owners of 10 or 20 or more thousands of acres bring
settlers at their own expense to improve their land. Kalm mentions
similar cases in New York.

When an owner of land dies intestate, and there are many children to
inherit the father's farm, it is generally taken by the eldest son, and
the younger children get in money their share of its appraised
value,--the eldest son gets two shares, the other children only one
apiece. The father of a large family takes from the Proprietary a large
tract of land, which on his death can be divided among all his children.
In New England improvement of the land is made in a more regular way
than in Pennsylvania,--whole towns are laid out, and as soon as sixty
families agree to build a church and support a Minister and a
Schoolmaster, the Provincial government gives them the required
privilege, carrying with it the right to elect two deputies to the
Legislature, from the grant of 6 English square miles. Then the town or
village is laid out in a square, with the church in the centre. The land
is divided and each works his own, leaving however the forest in common,
and with the privilege of laying out another village in time. In this
way new settlements grow in New England in regular order and
succession,--every new village touching on an old one, and all steadily
increasing in wealth and numbers. Nothing of this kind is done in
Pennsylvania, where the Proprietor wants only to sell land and as much
as any one wants and wherever he likes. The mistake of this was shown
in the Indian wars. On the border were scattered houses and farms, which
could not help one another, and they were attacked singly, plundered and
destroyed, and the ruined owners with their families took refuge with
the older settlements, which became burthened with their care.

Blacks are found in Virginia, Maryland and the two Carolinas in large
numbers, but very few in Pennsylvania and further north. In
Pennsylvania, on principle they were prevented coming as much as
possible, partly because there was no such hard work as they were fitted
for in raising tobacco, rice and indigo. In Pennsylvania, every negro
must pay a tax of 10 pounds sterling and this the master who brings him
must pay. These negroes are protected by law in all the Colonies, as
much as free men. A Colonist, even if he is the owner, who kills a
blackman, is instantly sentenced to death,--if he overworks or ill
treats his slave, the latter can complain to the judge. Then in their
own interest the masters are obliged not to give their slaves excessive
tasks or insufficient food, for their death is a loss. The negro slaves
have all the general rights of humanity except freedom and property,
neither of which they possess.

The free in the Colonies are of two kinds, the one servant and maid,
bound for a half or a whole year, and the term ends by mutual agreement.
The other class consists of poor Scotch, Irish and Germans, who to get
to America come without paying their passage, and the ship captain finds
them a master who pays it and thus secures their service for food and
lodging and clothing, without pay, but only for a term of years, never
for life. Sometimes a father sells the services of his children to a
master, who must teach them some useful trade, farming, carpentering,
cooking. This lasts until majority,--with boys at 21, with girls at 18,
and in some cases for 8 years, but not longer. Then the children are by
law free, and their master is bound to give them the needful articles
for housekeeping, a cow, farming implements, tools etc. In this way all
poor children have the hope of establishing themselves on their majority
in freedom. The poor fathers find their comfort in this expectation, are
relieved of the care of their children in the interval, and know that
they are learning something useful and will start out in life with money
in hand without having to pay anything to the master. The masters in
turn are satisfied with the cheap service. This law has been introduced
to cure the old need of servants and apprentices.

There is a special class of servants in the Colonies, between peasants
and slaves, those transported from Great Britain for certain crimes for
from 7 to 14 years. It is an exile from Great Britain under penalty of
prison in case of return. Such an offender is sold by the Courts to a
Ship's Captain who takes him to the Colonies and sells him as a slave
for a limited period. That over he is free. Formerly such servants were
welcomed on account of the demand for laborers, but now they are no
longer needed in the populous Colonies, they remain worthless and are
soon sent to prison for fresh offences.

The constitutions of the British Colonies differ according to the
original grants, 1st Royal, 2nd Proprietary, 3rd Charter Governments,
and the British Parliamentary Statutes call them Plantations under
Proprietors, under Charters, under his majesty's immediate commission,
Stat. 6 Anne, cap. 30, sec. 2. The 1st class are arranged strictly
according to the British Constitution, with a Governor, who represents
the King, and two legislative branches, 1st the Council, called the
Royal Council, 2nd Representatives of towns or counties, belonging to
one Colony, these two are like the two houses of the British Parliament,
and the Council is called the Upper House, and the body of
representatives of the people the Lower House. In these three branches
are vested the law making powers of the Colony, but subject to the
Crown, hence united they are called the Assembly, although that is
popularly limited to the two Houses and often to the Lower or popular
House. The King appoints the Governor and recalls him at pleasure. The
Council also consists of royal officials dependent on the King as to
terms and nature of appointment, but generally selected from the
principal persons of the Colony, legal, financial and military officers.
Governor and Councillors have fixed salaries and certain fees, the
Governor a large fixed salary, provided in advance by the Colonies, thus
the Governor of Barbadoes has £2000, the Governor of Virginia £1000. The
popular representatives are elected annually and receive a fixed per
diem allowance. They look after the rights and privileges of the people,
just as do the Council and the Governor after those of the Crown. Every
measure approved by the three bodies becomes a law, but only
provisionally, for it must be sent to the King for approval, but if not
vetoed within three years, it is final. This is the usual rule for
Colonial governments, (with some local exceptions) in all the West India
Islands, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, both Carolinas, New Georgia,
New Scotland, New Hampshire, and I believe Quebec, East and West
Florida, and the newly acquired Caribbean Islands, and the English
consider it the best way of securing the rights of the Mother Country,
that is, Great Britain. The 2nd class is that of hereditary
Proprietors, such as those of Pennsylvania and Maryland. In the former
the English family of Penn, in the latter the Irish Lords Baltimore are
the hereditary Proprietors and Governors, as over lords they draw a
certain income from all the Colonists in proportion to their land, and
all improved land is sold at a fixed price. Both tax and price are low,
but the growth of both Colonies has made both families rich. Lord
Baltimore has the right of patron of all churches in Maryland. As
hereditary Proprietors both appoint their Lieutenant Governors, who are
confirmed by the King, and reside in the Provinces. In both Colonies
there are Assemblies,--that in Maryland consists of the Council and the
House of Commons, and subject to the right of the Proprietor, has the
same jurisdiction as that of any other Colony.

The third kind of government is the Chartered or Free government. This
is nearest a Democracy, and is less dependent on the Crown. This form of
constitution exists in the three Colonies of New England, completely in
Connecticut and Rhode Island,--in Massachusetts with certain
restrictions. The two first named Colonies have the right to elect all
their own officers, including the Governor and Council, and to make all
needful laws without royal approval, nor can the decisions of their
Courts be appealed from. In Rhode Island even the ministers of the
Churches can be removed at the end of a year, so that they hold office
only for one year's salary.

Massachusetts Bay formerly had these popular rights, but owing to abuses
their former privileges and freedom were repealed by the King's Bench
under Charles the Second, and only partly restored by a new Charter from
William the Third. Since then the King appoints the Governor and the
chief law and treasury and all military officers. The representatives
have the right to elect Councillors, but subject to a negative veto of
the Governor. This election in Massachusetts as well as in Connecticut
and Rhode Island, is made by both Houses, annually, because the members
of the Council hold office only for a year.

Laws passed by the Assembly must have royal approval, and in cases
involving over £300, there is an appeal to the Privy Council in London.

The Governor of Massachusetts has no fixed salary, but it is fixed every
year by the Assembly. (Kalm says this is so in New York also.) He must
therefore be popular with the Assembly or the King will replace him by
another likely to be so. This uncertain tenure is unpopular in Europe
because it affects unfavorably the interests of the Colony and makes
that of Great Britain dependent on the Colony. The Colonists answer that
a fixed salary would enable the Governor to live abroad and send only a
Lieutenant Governor as substitute.

Pennsylvania has its own Constitution. Penn as Proprietor draws a
revenue of a half penny sterling local currency for every acre of
improved land, and every purchaser of wild land can buy a hundred acres
for £10 and the usual quit rent. As Proprietor he sends a Deputy, whom
he pays, and appoints all Judges, but ministers are chosen by their own
congregations in every County. The meeting of the Pennsylvania
Legislature consists of only one House, (because there is no Council)
made up of representatives of the various Counties. These are elected
annually October 1, each County holding its own meetings for the
purpose,--every inhabitant worth £50, resident for 12 years, has a
vote,--these meetings elect 8 Deputies to the Assembly,--every elector
is eligible, but mostly well to do citizens are elected. The County
gives its representatives six shillings a day, but the Deputies have to
spend more out of their own pockets. There is no bribery. Every voter
deposits a written ballot, and the persons who have the highest number
are declared elected. The purchase of votes would be very unsafe, as the
voter could always write another name on his ballot. This House with the
Lieutenant Governor is the law making power. The Governor however
depends on the Assembly for his salary, as he has no fixed allowance,
which is voted only from year to year, and if he displeases the
Assembly, it votes him no salary for the next year. The Assembly has
been for six years on bad terms with the Proprietor and has made no
grant for the Governor. The Assembly wants the Proprietor to pay tax on
his property especially towards the extraordinary war expenses. The
decision rests with the King in Council, but if the Assembly appealed,
it would be sent to the King's Bench. The fact that all Judges are
appointed by the Proprietor, makes difficulties, as he is in his own
cases both Judge and Plaintiff. The newer Colonies have institutions
based on Acts of Parliament for New Georgia, New Scotland, &c., but the
older Colonies have Charters from the King, and not from Parliament.
These Colonies claim to be subject to the King, but not to Parliament,
at least not to its arbitrary power, like the newer Colonies, which owe
their existence to Parliament. The latter are called Plantations within
his Majesty's Dominions, the former his Majesty's Plantations.

The legal institutions of the Colonies are based on those of England,
for these are part of the Englishman's rights. All personal relations
are controlled by Statute Law and Common Law. Roman Law is recognized
only in Courts of Admiralty. The light of trial by a Jury of twelve men
is recognized just as in England. It was one of the grounds of complaint
against the Stamp Act, that questions arising under it were not tried by
Jury, but by courts specially created.

Most of the Colonists of English descent are Presbyterians. There is not
one Bishop of the Established Church in America, although there are many
parishes belonging to it. These are all under the Bishop of London, and
every one of their clergymen must be examined and ordained in England,
at a cost of at least £40 to £50, but their stay in England helps their
education. As the Bishops have spiritual jurisdiction, there are no
ecclesiastical Courts in the Colonies, and matters pertaining to them
are settled partly by local Courts, partly by the Assemblies. The
spiritual Lords may have proposed to send a Bishop to America, but since
the time of Charles the First, that title has been greatly disliked in
the Colonies. Catholic Churches are found in Pennsylvania as well as in
Maryland, in the former because freedom of religion is universal, in the
latter because the Baltimore family, the Proprietors, were formerly
Catholics,--none are found in the other Colonies. There are Jews in
Pennsylvania and New York,--in the latter there is a Synagogue, in the
former only Schools. Pennsylvania is preeminent for the entire religious
equality or toleration, under which it has increased in population and
wealth. Roman Catholics are however excluded from all offices and from
the Assembly, because they cannot take the usual religious oath and
subscribe under the test act. This oath must be taken here as well as in
England, as well as that against the Pretender. All other Protestant
faiths enable the members to hold office. For education in science there
has long been a high school in Boston, the capital of Massachusetts, and
there is another founded in 1749 in Philadelphia, the capital of
Pennsylvania. Franklin proposed and founded it. The money was raised
partly by subscription, partly by Provincial grants. Most of the
endowment consists of land, not very productive, but of value hereafter.
This University has a President with £250 salary, and four
Professors,--two with £200, two with £150, besides fees for private
instruction. There is no College and therefore no lodging built yet. It
has the right to confer degrees. In 1764 a Medical School was added, and
it will no doubt have the power to confer degrees. There is no Law
School yet and it is not likely there will ever be one of Theology. The
University was chartered by the Assembly for the good of the Colony, but
as there are so many religious faiths all enjoying perfect equality, it
is enough if the scholars are taught their religious tenets in their own
schools with those of their own faith, while Theology is excluded.

Farming, stockraising and fisheries nourish in all the North American
Colonies, and the forests supply all that is needed for fuel and
industry. Grapes are successfully cultivated in North America and wild
grape vines are found in some forests. The cheap wines from Canary
interfere with the production. Silk can be cultivated and mulberry trees
grow as far north as New England. Cod fishing is more valuable than a
silver mine, for it trains up good sailors and helps many industries.
New England, New Scotland and New Foundland are most largely interested
in it. Colonists have the same fishing rights in these waters as
Englishmen. The largest market is Spain and Portugal. These Catholic
countries are large consumers, and the fishermen often bless the Pope.

The French fisheries since the recent peace have greatly diminished in
extent, but the French take a good deal of the trade, as their own
consumption is supplied by French fishing fleets. The New England
fishermen supply Portugal, Spain and Italy at a cheaper rate than the
French.

Whale fishing is increasing, and the Island of Nantucket owns hundreds
of ships in this industry. It stretches from the mouth of the St.
Lawrence, on the coast of Greenland, as far south as Florida. Beasts of
prey do little harm,--bears and wolves rarely injure men, and bear meat
is much liked. Deer are plentiful and Buffalo are easily found and can
be tamed and used as in Asia Minor, Persia, Egypt, Ethiopia and the East
Indies as draught animals. Kalm praises the Sugar Maple and took some of
the young trees to Sweden. The sugar can replace that of the West
Indies, although it has not yet done so. The bounty on Pearl and
Potashes has made a large industry,--over a thousand tons are annually
produced.

Ship building is growing greatly in the North American Colonies. Ships
are all built of oak, some for use at home, others for sale in England.

Pennsylvania is mainly farming and cattle growing, just as are most of
the German countries. It has little Fishery trade, as it has a small
coast, and it has no products that can be used largely in commerce.

The growth of the neighboring Colonies is due to their Fisheries,
Tobacco, Rice and Indigo. Pennsylvania flourishes on its farming and
cattle. Horses are raised in some Colonies, but it is better to raise
oxen, which can be used for twelve years and then killed or sold.

The farmers are industrious and frugal, educate their families, and are
growing rich in land if not in money.

Manufacturing, wool, flax, iron, steel, and copper, is growing,--field
pieces, rifled guns for hunters, and iron cannon are all made in the
Colonies. England does not interfere with domestic production, but it
prevents exportation, and does not allow hats to be made, lest the
English production, although made of American beaver, should be lessened
in demand in the Colonies. There is little ground for fear of American
competition, as workmen are few there, and farming is always preferred
to trades. Farmers are good fathers, and large families help economical
living. Even if manufacturing increases, it cannot keep pace with the
increase of population and the demand for goods. In 34 years the
population of Pennsylvania increased fourfold at most, but the
importation of English wares increased from £16000 Sterling to
£268000,--that is seventeen times greater. In 1725 the value of such
importations was £16000, in 1757, £268426. Four times the population
uses much more than four times, really seventeen times more goods,
because the population grows more rapidly in wealth than in numbers.
Manufactures must in time be established in the Colonies, because with
their prosperity likely to increase for centuries to come, England and
Ireland cannot supply all the wares needed and the Colonies must provide
them for their future necessities.

The three largest cities are Boston, New York and Philadelphia. In 1720
the first was as large as the other two together, but since then they
have grown faster. In New England there are many sea ports, but the only
ports for New York and Pennsylvania are their two capitals, and they are
likely to be the largest cities in America. Philadelphia has more than
3000 houses, and more than 20000 inhabitants. It is regularly laid out
at right angles, and the streets extend every year.

Virginia has the fewest villages and only one little town, Williamsburg,
its capital. The population is scattered and every family lives on its
own tobacco plantation. The Chesapeake and its affluents reach every
where and the Colonists bring their tobacco by water to the Bay where it
is loaded on sea going vessels.

New York has great advantages for trading with the native Indians, by
means of the Hudson to Albany, and thence by smaller streams to Oswego
and Lake Ontario, where the great fairs for dealing with the Indians are
held. From Lake Ontario there is water way to Lake Superior. The Indians
bring their skins and hides from the west by water to Oswego, and New
York excludes traders from Pennsylvania. Philadelphia trades with New
Jersey over the Delaware River. Salt is imported in 50 or 60 vessels
from Spanish South America and the Cape Verde Islands and Senegal, where
it is made from saltwater, by drying in the sun.

The Colonies are greatly restricted in their export trade, yet they have
their own vessels, but they are not allowed to export their products,
especially those needed for ship building, such as masts, ship timber,
iron, copper, hemp, flax, cotton, indigo, tobacco, tar, potash, skins
and furs,--they must all be sent to England and sold there for export in
British ships with British sailors, and where there are English Trading
Companies, as in the East Indies, the Colonies cannot trade directly. In
1765 the trade with the Spanish and French West Indies was forbidden,
but the results were so bad that this restriction was removed. The
Colonies ship food stuffs to the Portuguese Sugar islands, meal, butter,
meat, grain, wood and timber for house building etc., and bring back
Molasses, from which Rum is made. Trade with the Spanish Americas is
contraband, but the Colonists run the risk for the sake of the hard
money it brings. Great Britain in 1766 established two free ports in the
West Indies, one in Jamaica, the other in Dominica, the French have one
in St. Domingo, the Dutch one in St. Eustache, the Danes one in St.
Thomas,--the English want to prevent the contraband trade with Spain,
but have made the restriction that foreigners can receive all goods free
of duty, but must sell only for cash, and not in exchange for other
goods.

Colonial shipping is important through the trade with the Spanish and
French West Indies, the English Sugar islands, and the fisheries. It
deals with the regions south of Cape Finisterre, with Africa, the Canary
and other islands, and in British ships with Portugal, Cadiz, Malaga,
Marseilles, Leghorn and Naples, and it might deal with Turkey. It
carries the surplus products of the fisheries, grain, flour, timber,
sugar and rice. The trade with Portugal is restricted because all its
wine must be brought by way of England, so only salt as ballast is
brought back. Sugar is the only cargo which the Colonial shipping can
carry and sell through Europe. England reserves the right to import and
reship American products, yet it sells more than three million pounds
and Ireland and Scotland two million pounds sterling of products in
America. Hard money is rare in the Colonies, and is higher in price than
in England. An English shilling is 18 pence colonial, as against 12
pence in sterling. A Guinea is 34 shillings, on account of its
convenience for exchange for goods. Spanish pieces of eight, worth in
England 4 shillings 8 pence, are worth in the Colonies 7 shillings 6
pence, and gold pistoles have fallen to 27 shillings, because they are
so often filled with base metal. A credit on London costs 175 p. c.,
that is 1 English pound sterling 1-3/4 in Provincial currency, but the
price rises and falls, par is 133-1/3, but it often goes up to 166-2/3
p. c. During the late war par was as low as 125, because England spent
so much money and so much was brought over by English soldiers,--and it
varies in different Colonies. The Colonies have Paper-bills, Bills of
Credit and Currency, issued by the authority of the Assemblies which
bind themselves to redeem them,--from £5 down to 1 shilling, but they
are not good outside the Province that issues them. It is used to raise
large amounts for pressing needs, as in the French War to pay the
soldiers, arm and clothe and feed them in the field. Sometimes the money
is raised by currency bills which are taken in payment of taxes etc. and
are cancelled on return to the Treasury office. This was copied from the
English Exchequer Bills introduced in the reign of William Third by Act
of Parliament, but the English bills carry interest, and those of the
Colonies do not. Another sort of currency is issued to meet the demand
for money on loan at interest,--the current rate is 6 p. c., but these
loans are made at 5 p. c., and the borrower must pay one tenth of the
principal annually. Thus the Colony can supply the means of helping
farmers to buy cattle, agricultural implements etc. and thus improve the
land. The issues were made too freely in some Colonies, and fell 15 to
20 p. c. and even more in the market. All the Colonies used paper
currency, until in some the English government restricted its issue by
law to a fixed amount. The Mother Country did this to protect its trade
from suffering loss. Pennsylvania restricted and regulated its issues
also. The question has been much disputed as to whether such issues are
advantageous or injurious, but it is still undecided. The taxes in the
Colonies are very light,--in Pennsylvania and Virginia there is a tax
payable in rent at a very low rate to the Proprietor in the former, to
the Crown in the latter Colony, all other taxes are assessed by
authority of the Assembly,--generally a land tax, of 6, 12, 18 pence up
to 2-1/2 shillings on the pound of rent, and incomes of professions and
offices are taxed. There are no taxes on exports and imports or excise.
There is a small light house tax on shipping. The Stamp Tax acts met
universal opposition,--the Colonies claimed the right to deal with their
own finances,--they had accepted all other Acts of Parliament touching
their manufactures and trade, limiting their freedom, but these did not
affect them as much as this direct attack on their purses. The Colonists
would not admit that Parliament had the right to tax them. They claimed
to be English citizens, and that no English community could be taxed
without its own consent, that is through its representatives in the
House of Commons, but the Colonies have none,--such as the Scotch
have,--but only their own Assemblies,--there only can taxes be legally
levied. Their money should be used to pay their own debts, not the
national debt of Great Britain. The last war put a heavy debt on all
the Colonies,--this ought to be first paid. The Colonies maintained at
their own expense, 25000 men against the French, costing each Colony
yearly 20, 30, 50 and more thousands of pounds,--when this debt is paid,
the Crown would have the right to require the Colonial Assemblies to
raise a similar loan. All the Colonies were unanimous on this point, and
for the first time met through their delegates in a Congress called to
object to the Stamp Act, and this they did on the right of English
citizens to petition against any measure they think wrong, and this
right is ensured to any number, whether it be 2, or 100 or 100000.

There are few fortified places in America. Philadelphia is quite open to
attack, and has only one Battery on the river, to protect the city
against invasion. There are a few forts to protect the settlers from the
Indians. The Provinces have their own militia, maintained at their own
cost,--the King appoints the officers. New England has the largest body
of militia, and the little forts are manned by these troops under the
King's commanders. There are English regiments in North America
garrisoning the large forts,--these are paid by the Crown. The English
like to serve in America, for they are paid in English sterling and are
supplied by the local authorities with provisions. The conquest of
Canada is advantageous alike to the English nation and to the Colonies,
for much of the expense of maintaining troops and forts is no longer
required. England supported 25000 men in the Colonies, and the Colonies
as many more in the last war. The royal rule in America, when in harmony
with the Colonies, is inexpensive in the older Colonies, for the King's
Cabinet rules by a stroke of the pen. The Colonies are well pleased that
France handed New Orleans over to the Spanish. The Indians are sworn
foes of the Spanish, who are neither so intriguing nor so industrious as
the French, and hence England can keep on better terms with the Indians.

The general agreement of the Colonies as shown in relation to the Stamp
Act, is the more noteworthy, as the Colonies have generally been jealous
of one another. There are many disputes between them as to their
borders, rivers, trade etc. If the Colonies were entirely independent,
they would soon be at war with one another. Only the protection of the
King and his authority prevents open outbreaks. This jealousy increases
with the growth of the Colonies. Pennsylvania gets along best, for it
leaves all trade both import and export open to all other Colonies, only
making such restriction in its own favor as may be needed to meet
restrictions laid on its trade by other Colonies, but all laws of this
kind require the royal approval.


[Transcriber's Note: No changes in text or punctuation were made in this etext]





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