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2dly. As to the Practicability. When I consider the attempts of this kind that have been made, first in the time of Archbishop Laud, by orders of council, to stop the Puritans who were flying from his persecutions into New England, and next by Louis XIV. to retain in his kingdom the persecuted Huguenots; and how ineffectual all the power of our crown, with which the Archbishop armed himself, and all the more absolute power of that great French monarch, were, to obtain the end for which they were exerted: when I consider too, the extent of coast to be guarded, and the multitude of cruisers necessary effectually to make a prison of the island for this confinement of free Englishmen, who naturally love liberty, and would probably by the very restraint be more stimulated to break through it; I cannot but think such a law Impracticable. The offices would not be applied to for licences, the ports would not be used for embarkation. And yet the people disposed to leave us, would, as the Puritans did, get away by shipfuls.
3dly. As to the Policy of the Law. Since 1 have shown there is no danger of depopulating Britain, but that the place of those that depart will soon be filled up equal to the means of obtaining a livelihood, let us see whether there are not some general advantages to be expected from the present emigration. The new settlers in Ame
rica, finding plenty of subsistence, and land easily acquired whereon to seat their children, seldom postpone marriage through fear of poverty. Their natural increase is therefore in a proportion far beyond what it would have been if they had remained here. New farms are daily everywhere forming in those immense forests; new towns and villages rising; hence a growing demand for our merchandise, to the greater employment of our manufacturers and the enriching of our merchants. By this natural increase of people, the strength of the empire is increased; men are multiplied, out of whom new armies may be formed on occasion, or the old recruited. The long-extended sea coast too, of that vast country, the great maritime commerce of its ports with each other, its many navigable rivers and lakes, and its plentiful fisheries, breed multitudes of seamen, besides those created and supported by its voyages to Europe; a thriving nursery this, for the manning of our fleets in time of war, and maintaining our importance among foreign nations, by that navy which is also our best security against invasions from our enemies. An extension of empire by conquest of inhabited countries is not so easily obtained, it is not so easily secured; it alarms more the neighboring states; it is more subject to revolts, and more apt to occasion new wars. The increase of dominion by colonies proceeding from yourselves, and by the natural growth of your own people, cannot be complained
of by your neighbors as an injury; none have a right to be offended with it. Your new possessions are therefore more secure, they are more cheaply gained, they are attached to your nation by natural alliance and affection; and thus they afford an additional strength more certainly to be depended on, than any that can be acquired by a conquering power, though at an immense expense of blood and treasure. These, methinks, are national advantages that more than equiponderate with the inconveniencies suffered by a few Scotch or Irish landlords, who perhaps may find it necessary to abate a little of their present luxury, or of those advanced rents they now so unfeelingly demand. From these considerations, I think I may conclude that the restraining law proposed, would, if practicable, be
4thly. As to the Justice of it. I apprehend that every Briton who is made unhappy at home, has a right to remove from any part of his king's dominions into those of any other prince, where he can be happier. If this should be denied me, at least it will be allowed that he has a right to remove into any other part of the same dominions. For by this right so many Scotchmen remove into England, easing their own country of its supernumeraries, and benefiting ours by their industry. And this is the case with those who go to America. Will not
these Scottish lairds be satisfied unless a law passes to pin down all tenants to the estate they are born on, (adscripti gleba) to be bought and sold with it? God has given to the beasts of the forest, and to the birds of the air, a right, when their subsistence fails in one country, to migrate to another, where they can get a more comfortable living; and shall man be denied a privilege enjoyed by brutes, merely to gratify a few avaricious landlords? Must misery be made permanent, and suffered by many for the emolument of one; while the increase of human beings is prevented, and thousands of their offspring stifled as it were in the birth, that this petty Pharaoh may enjoy an excess of opulence? God commands to increase and replenish the earth; the proposed law would forbid increasing, and confine Britons to their present number, keeping half that number too in wretchedness. The common people of Britain and of Ireland contributed by the taxes they paid, and by the blood they lost, to the success of that war, which brought into our hands the vast unpeopled territories of North America; a country favored by heaven with all the advantages of climate and soil: Germans are now pouring into it, to take possession of it, and fill it with their posterity; and shall Britons and Irelanders, who have a much better right to it, be forbidden a share of it, and, instead of enjoying there the plenty and happiness that might reward their industry, be
compelled to remain here in poverty and misery? Considerations such as these persuade me, that the proposed law would be both Unjust and InhuMan.
If then it is unnecessary, impracticable, impolitic, and unjust, I hope our parliament will never receive the bill, but leave landlords to their own remedy, an abatement of rents, and frugality of living; and leave the liberties of Britons and Irishmen at least as extensive as it found them. I am, Sir, yours, &c. A Friend To The Poor.
For The Pennsylvania Gazette.
On Sending Felons To America. Sir,
We may all remember the time when our mother-country, as a mark of her parental tenderness, emptied her gaols into our habitations, "for the Better peopling," as she expressed it, "of the colonies." It is certain that no due returns have yet been made for these valuable consignments. We are therefore much in her debt on that account; and, as she is of late clamorous for the payment of all we owe her, and some of our debts are of a kind not so easily discharged, I am for doing however what is in our power. It will show our good-will as to the rest. The felons she planted among us have produced such an amazing