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many dangers in their voyages over the Atlantic, which was not such an easy navigation a hundred years ago as it is now, they arrived at an inhospitable shore and a waste wilderness, where there were few of the necessaries, and not one of the accomodations of life; where the climate was so extreme, the summer heats so scorching, and the winters so long and so cold, that the country seem'd hardly habitable; to sum up their misfortunes, they found themselves inevitably engaged in a war with the natives. So that by fatigue and famine, by the extremity of the seasons, and by a war with the savages, the first planters soon found their graves, leaving the young settlements to be perfected by their survivors..
The province of the Massachusets-Bay has been equally sollicitous to protect their inhabitants by sea, against any foreign invasion. For this end they have kept their militia well trained and disciplined, and by an act of the assembly obliged all persons, under proper penalties, to be well provided with ammunition and arms, that they might be ready in case of a sudden descent from abroad. Boston, which is their capital town, and principal sea-port, is fortified with two batteries to the sea, one at each end of the town; and about a league from it, at the entrance of the harbour, there is a strong beautiful castle, which is by far the finest piece of military architecture
in the British America. It was built by Col. Romer, a famous German engineer, at the country's expence, and is called Castle William.
There is one thing more I have heard often urged against the charter colonies, and indeed 'tis what one meets with from people of all conditions and qualities, tho' with due respect to their better judgments, I can see neither reason nor colour for it. 'Tis said, that their increasing numbers and wealth joined to their great distance from Great Britain will give them an opportunity in the course of some years to throw off their dependence on the nation, and declare themselves a free state, if not curbed in time by being made entirely subject to the crown. Whereas in truth there is no body though but little acquainted with these or any of the northern plantations, who does not know and confess, that their poverty and the declining state of their trade is so great at present, that there is far more danger of their sinking, without some extraordinary support from the crown, than of their ever revolting from it. So that I may say without being ludicrous, that it would not be more absurd to place two of his Majesty's beefeaters to watch an infant in the cradle that it don't rise to cut its father's throat, than to guard these weak infant colonies to prevent their shaking off the British yoke. Besides, they are so distinct from one another in their forms of gov
ernment, in their religious rites, in their emulation of trade, and consequently in their affections, that they never can be supposed to unite in so dangerous an enterprize. It is for this reason I have often wondered to hear some great men profess their belief of the feasibleness of it, and the probability of its some time or other actually coming to pass, who yet with the same breath advise that all the governments on the continent be formed into one, by being brought under one vice-roy, and into one assembly. For surely if we in earnest believed that there was or would be hereafter a disposition in the provinces to rebel and declare themselves independent, it would be good policy to keep them disunited; because if it were possible they could contrive so wild and rash an undertaking, yet they would not bę hardy enough to put it in execution, unless they could first strengthen themselves by a confederacy of all the parts.
What these governments desire of their superiors at home is, that they may not be judged and condemned unheard. And I cannot but flatter myself they will obtain it, whether I consider the reasonableness of the demand itself, or the celebrated justice and lenity of his Majesty's government, or the importance of the thing in question to the provinces concerned. I mention this last particular, being sure they would reckon the loss of their privileges a greater calamity than if their houses were all in flames at once. Nor can they be justly blamed, the one being a reparable evil, but the other irreparable. Burnt houses may rise again out of their ashes, and even more beautiful than before, but 'tis to be feared that liberty once lost, is lost forever.
J. Dummer, A Defence of the New-England Charters (Boston, 1765), 4-44 passim.
8. A Young Patriot's First Appearance in Philadelphia (1723)
By BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
Franklin was born in Boston, emigrated to Philadelphia and remained a citizen of Pennsylvania throughout his life.
I HAVE been the more particular in this description of my journey, and shall be so of my first entry into that city, that you may in your mind compare such unlikely beginnings with the figure I have since made there. I was in my working dress, my best clothes coming round by sea. I was dirty from my being so long in the boat. My pockets were stuffed out with shirts and stockings, and I knew no one, nor where to look for lodging. Fatigued with walking, rowing, and the want of sleep, I was very hungry; and my whole stock of cash consisted in a single dollar, and about a shilling in copper coin, which I gave to the boatmen for my passage. At first they refused it, on account of my having rowed, but I insisted on their taking it. Man is sometimes more generous when he has little money, than when he has plenty; perhaps to prevent his being thought to have but little.
I walked towards the top of the street, gazing about till near Market Street, where I met a boy with bread. I had often made a meal of dry bread, and, inquiring where he had bought it, I went immediately to the baker's he directed me to. I asked for biscuits, meaning such as we had at Boston; that sort, it seems, was not made in Philadelphia. I then asked for a three-penny loaf, and was told they had none. Not knowing the different prices, nor the names of the different sorts of bread, I told him to give me three-penny worth of any sort. He gave me accordingly three great puffy rolls. I was surprised at the quantity, but took it, and, having no room in my pockets, walked off with a roll under each arm, and eating the other. Thus I went up Market Street as far as Fourth Street, passing by the door of Mr. Read, my future wife's father; when she, standing at the door, saw me, and thought I made, as I certainly did, a most awkward, ridiculous appearance. Then I turned and went down Chestnut Street and part