« ElőzőTovább »
" L'airocié des loix en empêche l'exécution.
“ Lorhque la peine eft Jans railure, on ell fwuvent obligé de lui préférer l'impuni:ê.
“ Lut tause des tous les reláchemens vient de l'impunité des crimes, et non de la moderation des peines.
it is said by those who know Europe generally, that there are more thesis committed and punished annually in England than in all the other nations put together. If this be so, there muít be a cause or causes for such depravity in our common people. May not one be the deficiency of justice and morality in our national government, manifesteri in our oppresiive conduct to subjects, and unjust wars on our neighbours ? View the long perlisted in, unjust, monopolizing treatment of Ireland, at length acknowledged ! View the plundering government exercised by our merchants in the Indies; the confiscated war made upon the American colonies; and, to say nothing of those upon France and Spain, view the late war upon Holland, which was seen by impartial Europe in no other light than that of a war of rapine and pillage; the hopes of an immense and cały prey being its only apparent, and probably its true and real motive and encouragement. Justice is as ftri&tly due between neighbour nations as between neighbour citi
A highwayman is as much a robber when he plunders in a gang, as when single; and a nation that makes an unjust war is only a great gang. After employing your people in robbing the Dutch, it is strange that, being out of that employ by peace, they still continue robbing, and rob one another ? Piraterie, as the French call it, or privateering, is the universal bent of the English nation, at home and abroad, wherever fettled. No less than seven hundred privateers were, it is said, commissioned in the last war! These were fitted out by merchants, to prey upon other merchants, who have never done them any injury. Is there probably any one of those privateering merchants of London, who were so ready to rob the merchants of Amsterdam, that would not as readily plunder another. London merchant of the next street, if he could do it with the faine impunity! the avidity, the alieni aj petens is the laine; it is the fear alone of the gallows that makes the difference. How then can a nation, which, amon: the honellost of its
people, has so many thieves by inclination, and whose government encouraged and commissioned no less than feven hundred gangs of robbers; how can such a nation have the face to condemn the crime in individuals, and hang up twenty of them in a morning! It naturally puts one in mind of a Newgate anecdote. One of the prisoners complained, that in the night somebody had taken his buckles out of his shoes. " What the devil!” says another, “ have we then thieves amongst us? It must not be suffered. Let us search out the rogue, and pump him to death.”
There is, however, one late instance of an English merchant who will not profit by such ill-gotten gain. He was, it seems, part owner of a ship, which the other owners thought fit to employ as a letter of marque, and which took a number of French prizes. The booty being shared, he has now an agent here enquiring, by an advertiseinent in the Gazette, for those who suffered the lofs, in order to make thein, as far as in him lies, restitution. This conscientious man is a Quaker. The Scotch presbyterians were formerly as tender; for there is still extant an ordinance of the town-council of Edinburgh, made soon after the Reformation, "forbidding the purchase of prize goods, under pain of losing the freedom of the burgh for ever, with other punishments at the will of the magistrate ; the prace tice of making prizes being contrary to good conscience, and the rule of treating Christian brethren as we would with to be treated ; and such goods are not to be sold by any godly men within this burgh.” The race of these godly men in Scotland is probably extinct, or their principles abandoned, since, as far as that nation had a hand in promoting the war against the colonies, prizes and confiscations are believed to have becn a considerable motive.
It has been for fome time a generally-received opinion, that a military man is not to enquire w hether a war be just or urjuit; he is to executc his orders. All princes who are disposed to become tyrants, must probably approve of this opinion, and be willing to establish it; but is it not a dangerous one ? ímce, on that principle, if the tyrant commands his army to attack and destroy, not only an unoffend. ing ncighbour nation, but even his own subjects, the army is bound to obey. A negro llave, in our colonics, being
commanded by his inafter to rob or murder a neighbour, or do any other immoral act, may refuse; and the magistrate will protect him in his refusal. The slavery then of a soldier is worse than that of a negre ; A conscientious officer, if not restrained by the apprehension of its being imputed to another caule, may indeed resign, rather than be employed in an unjust war, but the private men are flaves for life and they are perhaps incapable of judging for themselves. We can only lament their fate, and still more that of a failor, who is often dragged by force from his honeft occupation, and compelled to imbrue his hands in perhaps innocent blood. But methinks it well behoves merchants (men more enlightened by their education, and perfectly free from any such force or obligation) to consider well of the justice of a war, before they voluntarily engage a gang of ruffians to attack their fellow-merchants of a neighbouring nation, to plunder them of their property, and perhaps ruin them and their families, if they yield it; or to wound, maim, and murder them, if they attempt to defend it. Yet these things are done by Christian merchants, whether a war be just or unjuft ; and it can hardly be just on both sides. They are done by English and American merchants, who, nevertheless, complain of private theft, and hang by dozens the thieves they have taught by their own example.
It is high time, for the sake of humanity, that a stop were put to this enormity, The United States of America, though better situated than any European nation to make profit by privateering, (most of the trade of Europe, with the West-Indies passing before their doors) are, as far as in them lies, endeavouring to bolish the practice, by offering, in all their treaties with other powers, an article, engaging solemnly, that, in case of future war, no privateer shall be commissioned on either side; and that unarmed merchant-Ships, on both sides, Thall pursue their voyages unmolested. This will be a happy improvement of the law of nations. The humane and the just cannot but wish general success to the proposition.
With unchangeable esteem and affection,
I am, my dear friend,
REMARKS CONCERNING THE SAVAGES OF
AVAGES we call them, because their manners differ from ours, which we think the perfection of civility; they think the same of theirs.
Perhaps, if we could examine the manners of different nations with impartiality, we should find no people so rude as to be without any rules of poli:enels; nor any lo polite as not to have some remains of rudeness.
The Indian men, when young, are hunters and warriors ; when oid, counsellors ; for all their government is by the courbel or advice of sages; there is no force, there are no prisons, no officers to cornpel obedience, or inflict pusihmeni. Hence they generally study cratory; the best ipeaker having the mott influence. The ludian women till the ground, dress the food, nurse and bring up he children, and preserve and land down to pofterity the memory of public transactions. These employments of inen and woinen are accounted natural and honourable. Having few artificial wants, they have abundance of leisure for improves ment by conversation. Our laborious manner of life, compared with theirs, they esteem flaksh and base; and the learning on which we value ourselves, they regard as frivolous and usele s. An instance of this occured at the treaty of Lancakter, in Pennsylvania, anno 1741, between the government of Virginia and the Six Nations. After the principle business was settled, the commissioners from Virginia acquainted the Indians by a speech, that there was at Williamsburgh a college, with a fund, for educating Indian youth; and that if the chiefs of the Six Nations would fend down half a dozen of their sons to that college the government would take care that they should be well provided for, and inkructed in all the learning of the while people. It is one of the Indian rakes of politeness not to anlwer a public proposition the fame day that it is made; ihry think it would be treating it as a light matter ; and they fhew ii refpect by taking time to consider it, as of a maiter imporiant. They therefore doferred their antwer til ihe day following: when their fpeaker began, by expreking iteir deep fente of the birincis vi the Virginia
government, in making them that offer : " for we know
Having frequent occasions to hold public councils, they have acquired great order and decency in conducting them. The old men fit in the foremoít ranks, the warriors in the next, and the women and children in the hindmost. The business of the women is to take exact notice of what pasfes, imprint it in their memories, for they have no writing, and communicate it to their children. They are the records of the council, and they preserve tradition of the flipulations in treaties a hundred years back; which, when we compare with our writings, we always find exact. He that would speak, rises. The rest observe a profound filence. When he has finished, and its down, they leave hin five or fix minutes to recollcct, that if he has oniitted any thing he intended to say, or has any thing to add, he may rise again and deliver it.---To interrupt an other, even in common conversation, is reckoned highly indecent. How dificrent this is frou the conduct of a polite British