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of that languor into which we seem to be fallen. The war we now carry on, principally regards our colonies, and is a sufficient proof that we are come at last to know their value. But if we are not to hope for better success than has hitherto attended a very just cause, the next peace will probably contract the field we hoped to lay open to our industry in America. But then, we ought therefore to cultivate what still remains of it, with tenfold industry; we ought to guard with the most unremitting vigilance that enclosed spring, that sealed fountain, the waters of which we reserve to ourselves, and direct into such channels, and make to pursue such windings and turnings as best serve our purposes. We have, I believe, pretty well discovered most of our errors, and the advantage our enemy and rival has taken, not only of our supineness, but of a contrary genius in his own councils. We ought to rouse ourselves from the former, and prepare to imitate the latter. Our business is to fight against Alexander, not to rail at him. And truly, I do not know any thing, that for this long time past has contributed more to degrade our character for humanity in the eyes of foreigners, or to instil into ourselves a low and illiberal way of thinking, than that vein of licentious scurrility, and abuse, by which, in all sorts of writings, we are apt to vilify and traduce the French nation. There is nothing, which hinders people from act
ing properly, more than indulging themselves in a
vain and effeminate licence of tongue. A man who loves his country, and can at once oppose, and esteem an enemy, would view our present circumstances in a light, I conceive. somewhat like the following. We have been engaged for above a century with France in a noble contention for the superiority in arms, in politics, in learning, and in commerce; and there never was a time, perhaps, when this struggle was more critical. If we succeed in the war; even our success, unless managed with prudence, will be like some former successes, of little benefit to us; if we should fail, which God forbid, even then, prudence may make our misfortunes of more use to us, than an ill-managed success; if they teach us to avoid our former errors; if they make us less careless; if they make us cultivate the advantages we have with care and judgment. This, and not our opinion of the enemy, must decide the long contest between us.
Edmund Burke, An Account of the European Settlements in America (London, 1757), II. 46-48.
8. Iron More Useful Than Gold
and Silver (1758) By NATHANIEL AMES
Professional maker of almanacs, in which from time so time he inserted predictions.
OF the Future State of North America.-Here we find a vast Stock of
Materials for the Art and Ingenuity of Man to work upon Treasures of immense Worth; concealed from the poor ignorant aboriginal Natives! The Curious have obser’ed, that the Progress of Humane Literature (like the Sun) is from the East to the West; thus has it travelled through Asia and Europe, and now is arrived at the Eastern Shore of America. As the Celestial Light of the Gospel was directed here by the Finger of God, it will doubtless finally drive the long ! long! Night of Heathenish Darkness from America.-So Arts and Sciences will change the Face of Nature in their Tour from Hence over the Appalachian Mountains to the Western Ocean; and as they march thro' the vast Desert, the Residence of wild Beasts will be broken up, and their obscene Howl cease for ever ;-Instead of which the Stones and Trees will dance together at the Music of Orpheus,—the Rocks will disclose their hidden Gems,—and the inestimable Treasures of Gold & Silver be broken up. Huge Mountains of Iron Ore are already discovered; and vast Stores are reserved for future Generations: This Metal, more useful than Gold and Silver, will employ Millions of Hands, not only to form the martial Sword and peaceful Share alternately; but an Infinity of Utensils improved in the Exercise of Art, and Handicraft amongst Men. Nature thro' all her Works has stamp'd Authority on this Law, namely, “That all fit Matter shall be improved to its best Purposes."Shall not then those vast Quarries that teem with mechanic Stone,-those for Structure be piled into great Cities,—and those for Sculpture into Statues to perpetuate the Honor of renowned Heroes; even those who shall NOW save their Country,-0! Ye unborn Inhabitants of America! should this Page escape its destin'd conflagration at the Year's End, and these Aphabetical Letters remain legible,—when your Eyes behold the Sun after he has rolled the Seasons round for two or three Centuries more, you will know that in Anno Domini 1758, we dream'd of your Times.
Good Advice by Poor Richard
(See note above, p. 170.)
If you'd have my Advice, I'll give it you in short, for a Word to the Wise is enough, and many Words won't fill a Bushel, as Poor Richard says. They join'd in desiring him to speak his Mind, and gathering round him, he proceeded as follows;
Friends, says he, and Neighbours, the Taxes are indeed very heavy, and if those laid on by the Government were the only Ones we had to pay, we might more easily discharge them; but we have many others, and much more grievous to some of us. We are taxed twice as much by our Idleness, three times as much by our Pride, and four times as much by our Folly, and from these Taxes the Commissioners cannot ease or deliver us by allowing an Abatement. However let us hearken to good Advice, and something may be done for us; God helps them that help themselves, as Poor Richard says in his Almanac of 1733.
It would be thought a hard Government that should tax its People one atenth Part of their Time, to be employed in its Service. But Idleness taxes many of us much more, if we reckon