Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

ments; and the new country is nearly at equal distance from all the old colonies, and could easily be assisted from all of them.

And as there are already in all the old colonies many thousands of families that are ready to swarm, wanting more land; the richness and natural advantage of the Ohio country would draw most of them thither, were there but a tolerable prospect of a safe settlement. So that the new colonies would soon be full of people; and, from the advantage of their situation, become much more terrible to the French settlements, than those are now to us. The gaining of the back Indian trade from the French, by the navigation of the lakes, &c. would of itself greatly weaken our enemies: it being now their principal support, it seems highly probable, that in time they must be subjected to the British crown, or driven out of the country.

Such settlements may be better made now, than fifty years hence, because it is easier to settle ourselves, and thereby prevent the French settling there as they seem now to intend, than to remove them when strongly settled.

If these settlements are postponed, then more forts and stronger, and more numerous and expensive garrisons must be established to secure the country, prevent their settling, and secure our present frontiers; the charge of which may probably exceed the charge of the proposed settlements, and the advantage nothing near so great.

The fort at Oswego should likewise be strengthened, and some armed half-gallies, or other small vessels, kept there to cruise on lake Ontario, as proposed by Mr. Pownall in his paper laid before the commissioners at the Albany treaty.1

If a fort was also built at Tirondequat on lake Ontario, and a settlement made there near the lake side, where the lands are said to be good, (much better than at Oswego,) the people of such settlements would help to defend both forts on any emergency.1

REMARKS AND FACTS RELATIVE TO THE AMERICAN PAPER-MONEY,' 1764.

[Referred to in Memoirs, Part III.]

In the Report of the Board of Trade, dated February 9, 1764, the following Reasons are given

1 See his work above quoted, Vol. II. p. 234, et stq. and p. 179, et seq.

1 The whole proposal was neglected, though the Freuch thought a considerable settlement very practicable, in order to get at the Ohio. See Governor Pownall, Vol. II. p. 236. B.V.

3 During the war, there had been a considerable and unusual trade to America, in consequence of the great fleets and armies on foot there, and the clandestine dealings with the enemy, who

for restraining the emission of paper-bills of credit in America, as a legal tender.

1. "That it carries the gold and silver out of the province, and so ruins the country; as experience has shown, in every colony where it has been practised in any great degree.

2. "That the merchants trading to America have suffered and lost by it.

3. "That the restriction [of it] has had a beneficial effect in New England.

4. "That every medium of trade should have an intrinsic value, which paper-money has not. Gold and silver are therefore the fittest for this medium, as they are an equivalent; which paper never can be.

5. "That debtors in the assemblies make papermoney with fraudulent views.

6. "That in the middle colonies, where the credit of the paper-money has been best supported, the bills have never kept to their nominal value in circulation; but have constantly depreciated to a certain degree, whenever the quantity has been increased."

were cut off from their own supplies. This made great debts. The briskness of the trade ceasing with the war, the merchants were anxious for payment; which occasioned some confusion in the colonies, and stirred up a clamor (in England) against paper-money. The board of trade, of which Lord Hillsborough was the chief, joined in this opposition to paper-money, as appears by the report. Dr. Franklin being asked to draw up an answer to their report, wrote the above. B. V.

To consider these Reasons in their order; the first is,

1. " That paper-money carries the gold and silver out of the province, and so ruins the country; as experience has shown, in every colony where it has been practised in any great degree." This opinion, of its ruining the country, seems to be merely speculative, or not otherwise founded than upon misinformation in the matter of fact. The truth is, that the balance of their trade with Britain being greatly against them, the gold and silver is drawn out to pay that balance; and then the necessity of some medium of trade has induced the making of paper-money, which could not be carried away. Thus, if carrying out all the gold and silver ruins a country, every colony was ruined before it made paper-money. But, far from being ruined by it, the colonies that have made use of paper-money, have been, and are, all in thriving condition. The debt indeed to Britain has increased, because their numbers, and of course their trade, have increased; for all trade having always a proportion of debt outstanding, which is paid in its turn, while fresh debt is contracted, the proportion of debt naturally increases as the trade increases; but the improvement and increase of estates in the colonies has been in a greater pro

[graphic]

portion than their debt. New England, particularly, in 1696, (about the time they began the use of paper-money,) had in all its four provinces but 130 churches or congregations; in 1760 they were 530. The number of farms and buildings there is increased in proportion to the numbers of people; and the goods exported to them from England in 1750, before the restraint took place, were near five times as much as before they had papermoney. Pennsylvania, before it made any papermoney, was totally stript of its gold and silver; though they had from time to time, like the neighboring colonies, agreed to take gold and silver coins at higher and higher nominal values, in hopes of drawing money into, and retaining it, for the internal uses of the province. During that weak practice, silver got up by degrees to 8s. 9d. per ounce; and English crowns were called six, seven, and eight shilling pieces, long before papermoney was made. But this practice of increasing the denomination, was found not to answer the end. The balance of trade carried out the gold and silver as fast as it was brought in; the merchants raising the price of their goods in proportion to the increased denomination of the money. The difficulties for the want of cash were accordingly very great, the chief part of the trade being carried on by the extremely inconvenient method of barter; when in 1723 paper-money was first made there, which gave new life to business, pror

« ZurückWeiter »