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mad wars continually raging, by which are often destroyed in one year the works of many years peace. So that we may hope, the luxury of a few merchants on the coast will not be the ruin of America.
One reflection more, and I will end .this long rambling letter. Almost all the parts of our bodies require some expence. The feet demand shoes; the legs stockings; the rest of the body clothing; and the belly a good deal of victuals. Our eyes, though exceedingly useful, ask, when reasonable, only the cheap assistance of spectacles, which could not much impair our finances. But the eyes of other people are the eyes that ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want neither fine clothes, fine houses, nor fine furniture.
ON THE SLAVE TRADE.
READING in the newspapers the speech of Mr. Jackson in congress, against meddling with the affair of Navery, or attempting to mend the condition of Naves, it put me in mind of a similar speech, made about one hundred years fince, by Sidi Meheniet Ibrahim, a member of the divan of Algiers, which may be seen in Martin's account of his consullhip, 1687. It was against granting the petition of the fect called Erika, or Purists, who prayed for the abolition of piracy and slavery, as being unjust. Mr. Jackson does not quote it ; perhaps he has not seen it. If, therefore, some of its reasonings are to be found in his eloquent speech, it may only shew that men's interests operate, and are operated
on, with surprizing similarity, in all countries and climates, whenever they are under similar circumstances. The African speech, as translated, is as fol. lows :
“ Alla Bismillah, &c. God is great, and Mahomet is his prophet.
• Have these Erika considered the consequences of granting their petition? If we cease our cruises against the Christians, how shall we be furnished with the commodities their countries produce, and which are so necessary for us? If we forbear to make slaves of their people, who, in this hot climate, are to cultivate our lands? Who are to perform the common labours of our city, and of our families ? Muft we not then be our own llaves? And is there not morecompassion and more favour due to us Mussulmen, than to those Christian dogs ? _We have now above fifty thousand Naves in and near Algiers. This number, if not kept up by fresh supplies, will soon diminish, and be gra. dually annihilated. If, then, we cease taking and plundering the infidel ships, and making flaves of the seamen and passengers, our lands will become of no value, for want of cultivation; the rents of houses in the city will sink one half; and the revenues of government, arising from the share of prizes, must be totally destroyed.--And for what? To gratify the whim of a whimsical sect, who would have us not only forbear making more slaves, but even manumit those we have. But who is to indemnify their masters for the loss ? Will the state do it? Is our treasury sufficient? Will the Erika do it ? Can they do it? Or would they, to do what they think justice to the slaves, do a greater injustice to the owners? And if we set our slaves free, what is to be done with them? Few of them will return to their native countries ; they know too well the ; VOL. I.
greater hardships they must there be subject to. They will not embrace our holy religion : they will not adopt our manners : our people will not pollute themselves by intermarrying with them. Must we maintain them as beggars in our streets ; or suffer our properties to be the prey of their pillage ? for men accustomed to slavery will not work for a livelihood, when not compelled. And what is there so pitiable in their present condition ? Were they not saves in their own countries ? Are not Spain, Portugal, France, and the Italian states, governed by despots, who hold all their subjects in Navery, without exception ? Even England treats her failors as flaves, for they are, whenever the government pleases, seized and confined in ships of war, condemned not only to work, but to fight for small wages, or a mere sublistence, not better than our flaves are allowed by us. Is their condition then