Imágenes de páginas

of their capital stock, which would, otherwise, be sent abroad to procure the precious metals.

Indulge me, gentlemen, while on this subject, in another observation. The more strict and regular is the practice of law, the greater is our certainty that the guilty will be punished; and, of necessary consequence, that the innocent will be protected. The law, when it is a terror to evil doers, is the safeguard not only of property but of life, and of that which wise and virtuous citizens value more than life--it is the protector of liberty. Where the law is supreme, every one may do what it permits without fear; and from this happy condition arises that habit of order which secures the public peace. But when any man, or association of men, can exercise discretionary power over others, there is an end of that liberty which our fathers enjoyed, and for which their sons bled. Whenever such an association, assuming to be the people, undertake to govern according to their will and pleasure, the republic which submits; nay, the republic which does not immediately subdue and destroy them, is in the steep downhill road to despotism. I cannot here, gentlemen, help congratulating you on the high standing of our city during late events, and adding my feeble approbation to the full applause so justly bestowed on its magistrates. To say more might look like adulation. To say less would be à want of gratitude.

Among the singularities of our history, is the slow progress of population, previous to the year 1783, compared with that of other states. Jamestown, in Virginia, was founded in 1607, Quebec in 1608, New York in 1615, New Plymouth in 1620. Thus, in the short space of fourteen years these different plantations of mankind were made. The settlement of Pennsylvania was undertaken full sixty years later : and yet at the commencement of the

70 33 33 64

war for defence of our rights, one hundred and fifty-five years after the first settlement of New Plymouth, and only ninety-four years after the first settlement of Pennsylvania, the population, according to the congressional estimate, was, of

The eastern states, exclusive of Vermont, nearly as
That of New York, Vermont, and New Jersey,
That of Pennsylvania and Delaware,
And that of Maryland and Virginia,

Together, 200
Moreover, according to that estimate, the propor-
tion of the states of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and
New York, was,

New York, including Vermont,

Together, 99
But Virginia had been planted 168 years, New
York 160, and Pennsylvania only 94, which gives
a proportion to

Virginia, of

And New York,





So that the population of Virginia had advanced, compared with the term of settlement, 5, and Pennsylvania 11, while New York was deficient 16. The citizens of Pennsylvania, warmed with that attachment to their country so honourable to man, attributed their superior prosperity to natural and moral advantages which they believed themselves fo possess. They supposed their climate more mild than ours, more salubrious than that of Virginia, their soil more fertile than either, and they contrasted the simplicity of manners among those called quakers, and their equality of civil condition, with what they supposed to be the luxury and aristocracy of men to whom manors had been



granted, and who were the masters of slaves. The citizens of New York, however, believed that the comparative prosperity of Pennsylvania might more naturally be attributed to circumstances more evident, and of less doubtful operation. Without acknowledging either a moral or civil superiority, they believed that nature had given them as good a climate, a better soil, and a more favourable situation; but their country had been from the beginning, a theatre of war, and stood in the fore front of the battle. New York was, like Joseph, a victim of parental kindness. Not, indeed, that her brethren, like his, were disposed to sell or kill the favourite child; but that their enemy endeavoured to subdue her, as the means more effectually to annoy them. The only accurate solution of such questions is made by time. For as experience is the groundwork, so is time the test of political reasoning. At the end of seven years from the period when the estimate mentioned was made, by the first congress, another severe hurricane of war had blown over our state, and laid it in ruins. Our frontier settlements had been broken up, and a part of our capital reduced to ashes. Our citizens were banished or beggared, and our commerce annihilated. Whatever doubts, therefore, may have been entertained as to the accuracy of proportions taken in 1775, there was no doubt left in 1783 but that we were below the ratio assumed when the war begun. In less than eight-and-twenty years, from that time, the census was taken on which the representation in congress is apportioned. And according to the ratio thereby established,

The eastern states, exclusive of Vermont, are as
New York, Vermont, and New Jersey,
Pennsylvania and Delaware,
Maryland and Virginia,


Total, 200

Or allowing for the black population, which is not fully represented, the number would be,

In the eastern states, exclusive of Vermont, as 51
New York, Vermont apd New Jersey,

Pennsylvania and Delaware,

36 And Maryland and Virginia,


[ocr errors]

Total, 200 If this be compared with the first proportion, viz, that made by estimate in 1775, we shall find that the eastern states have decreased 19, Virginia and Maryland 9, while this state, with Vermont and New Jersey, have increased 25, Pennsylvania and Delaware 3. Or taking the relation between Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York, which was, Virginia, then, 44 Now,

45 Peppsylvania, then,

33 Now, New York, with Vermont, 22 Without Verinont,

29 35




It appears that Virginia has decreased 2, and Pennsylvania 4, making the 13 which New York has gained. In respect to Virginia, however, the variation may arise from those colonies which have left the ancient dominion to people southern and western states. It may be well, therefore, to confine our view to a comparison of this state with her sister Pennsylvania. In July 1775 the congress estimated the population of Pennsylvania and that of New York, then including Vermont, in a proportion of three to two, which gives to

New York,

30. 20

50 but by the late apportionment of representatives, Peppsylvania has

23 New York,


[merged small][ocr errors]

So that in the space of twenty-eight years of peace, from 1783 to 1811, Pennsylvania has lost seven in thirty, and New York has gained seven in twenty, on their relative proportion: and this, too, without including Vermont. Finally, the matter may be examined in a still more simple point of view, and speaking in round numbers, if the estimate of 1775 be considered as tolerably accurate, Massachusetts has increased one half, Pennsylvania has doubled, and New York quadrupled since it was made.

Excuse me, gentlemen, for dwelling so much on a calculation which may appear to some as mere amusement. It shows by conelusions which, founded on arithmetic, cannot be questioned, that the growth of this state was impeded only by the wars in which it has been so often, so deeply, and so disastrously engaged. From 1614, when Fort Orange, now Albany, was built, to 1810, when the last census was taken, there are seven terms of 28 years. During the first six terms, which ended in 1782, we had not attained to more than one fourth of our present condition. It has already been observed, that the settlement of Pennsylvania began in 1681, but as it may be contended that antecedent settlements in Delaware and New Jersey facilitated the undertaking of Mr. Penn, we may go back a few years, and suppose it to have commenced in 1670, from which time to that in which the last census was taken, there are five terins of twenty-eight years. In the first four, Pennsylvania attained to one half of her present condition, and had acquired more by one half than we had in six. But in the last term they have little more than doubled, while we have quadrupled. But it may be said that no reliance ought to be placed on the estimate made by congress in 1775, and that comparisons drawn from proportions then assumed, are not convincing. It may be well, therefore, to


« AnteriorContinuar »