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13. On the Prospect of Planting Arts and Learning in America (17312)
By BISHOP GEORGE BERKELEY
An English clergyman settled for some time at Newport. Renowned as a philosopher.
The Muse, disgusted at an age and clime,
Barren of every glorious theme,
Producing subjects worthy fame:
In happy climes, where from the genial sun
And virgin earth such scenes ensue, The force of art by nature seems outdone,
And fancied beauties by the true: In happy climes the seat of innocence,
Where nature guides and virtue rules, Where men shall not impose for truth and sense
The pedantry of courts and schools:
The rise of empire and of arts,
The wisest heads and noblest hearts.
Not such as Europe breeds in her decay;
Such as she bred when fresh and young, When heavenly flame did animate her clay, By future poets shall be sung.
Westward the course of empire takes its way;
The four first acts already past,
Time's noblest offspring is the last.
14. Warning Against the French in
the West (1735)
(See note above, p. 180.)
On the back of the British Colonies on the Continent of America about 250 Miles from the Ocean, runs a chain of High Mountains stretching away from the North East to the South, and holding near parellel with the Sea Coaste. Several Rivers which fall Eastward lead in these Mountains, as do some of the Missapippi tending towards the West.
As the French have settlements on these Western Rivers, it will be greatly for their advantage, to be beforehand with the English in gaining possession of the Mountains, and for so doing (besides their encroaching Temper) they will have the following Temptations. First that they may make themselves Masters of all the Mines, with which there is reason to believe these Mountains abound. Amongst the rest, if credit may be given to the Indians, there are several mines of Silver. And this is the more probable because the Mountains on the back of Virginia and Carolina lye in the same Parellel with the Mines of New Mexico.
In the next place, that they may engross all the Trade with western Indians for Skins and Furrs, which besides being very profitable, will engage those numerous Natives to the French Interests, in order to Side with them against His Majesty's Subjects, as those bordering upon Canada are already engaged to be troublesome to the Adjacent British Colonys.
And lastly that they may build Forts to command the Passes thro the said Mountains, whereby they will not be only in condition to secure their own Traffick and Settlements Westward, but also to invade the British Colonies from thence. Nor are these Views so distant . . nary as some may imagine, because a Scheme for that purpose was some years ago laid before Sieur Croisat, and approved, but not at that time thought ripe for execution, which I hope we shall not Sit Still and expect.
These inducements to the French make it prudent for a British Ministry to be watchfull and prevent their Seizing this important Barrier. In order wherewith it may be proper to employ some fitt Person to reconnoitre these Mountains very diligently, in order to discover what Mines may be found there, as likewise to observe, what nations of Indians dwell near them, and where lye the most considerable Passes, in order to their being secured by proper Fortifications. In the mean time it may be necessary to encourage Foreign Protestants to come over, and Seat themselves in the Valleys of these Mountains, which are exceedingly rich, and the air perfectly wholesome. And the better to tempt them to it, it would be worth while to pass an Act of Naturalization for all such, and suffer them to enjoy a certain Portion of Land for each Family free from Quitrents for ten years, and if these could be transported without charge it would be an effectual Temptation to them, and no loss to Great Britain by any means.
I had much rather have to do with the honest Industrious Switzers, than the mixt People that come from Pennsylvania, especially when they are to be conducted by so prudent a Person as yourself.
Colonel William Byrd, Writings (N. Y., 1901), 390393 passim.
15. A Southern Criticism of Slavery
and Rum (1736)
(See note above, p. 180.)
Your Lordps [Lordship's] opinion concerning Rum and Negros is certainly very just, and your excludeing both of them from your Colony of Georgia will be very happy; tho’ with Respect to Rum, the Saints of New England I fear will find out some trick to evade your Act of Parliament. They have a great dexterity at palliating a perjury so well as to leave no taste of it in the mouth, nor can any people like them slip through a penal statute. They will give some other Name to their Rum, which they may safely do, because it go[e] s by that of Kill-Devil in this country from its banefull qualitys. A watchfull Eye must be kept on these foul Traders or all the precautions of the Trustees will be in vain.
I wish my Lord we coud be blesst with the same Prohibition. They import so many Negros hither, that I fear this Colony will some time or other be confirmed by the Name of New Guinea. I am sensible of many bad consequences of multiplying these Ethiopians amongst us. They blow up the pride, and ruin the Industry of our White People, who se[e]ing a Rank of poor Creatures