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THE INTERNAL STATE OF AMERICA :
Being a true Description of the Interest and
Policy of that vast Continent.
THERE is a tradition, that, in the planting of New-England, the first fettlers met with many difficulties and hardships ; as is generally the case when a civilized people attempt establishing themselves in a wilderness country. Being piously disposed, they sought relief from Heaven, by laying their wants and diftrefles before the Lord, in frequent set days of fasting and prayer.
Constant meditation and discourse on these subjects kept their minds gloomy and discontented ; and, like the children of ICrael, there were many disposed to return to that Egypt which persecution had induced them to abandon. At length, when it was proposed in the assembly to proclaim another fast, a farmer of plain sense rose, and remarked, that the incon. veniences they suffered, and concerning which they had so often wearied Heaven with their complaints, were not so great as they might have expected, and were diminishing every day as the colony strengthened ; that the earth began to reward their labour, and to furnilh liberally for their subsistence; that the seas and rivers were found full of fish, the air sweet, the climate healthy; and, above all, that they were there in the ful enjoyment of liberty, civil and religious : he therefore thought, that reflecting and conversing on these subjects would be more comfortable, as tending more to make them contented with their fituation; and that it would be more becoming the gratitude they owed to the Di. vine Being, if, instead of a fast, they should proclaim a thanksgiving. His P 3
advice was taken ; and from that day to this they have, in every year, observed circumstances of public felicity sufficient to furnish employment for a thanksgiving day; which is therefore constantly ordered and religiously observed.
I see in the public newspapers of different states frequent complaints of hard times, deadness of trade, scarcity of money, &c. &c. It is not my intention to affert or maintain that these complaints are entirely without foundation. There can be no country or nation existing, in which there will not be some people so circumstanced as to find it hard to gain à livelihood ; people who are not in the way of any profitable trąde, and with whom money is scarce, because they have nothing to give in exchange for it; and it is always in the power of a small num. ber to make a great clamour. But let us take a cool view of the general state of our affairs, and perhaps the prospect will appear less gloomy than has been imagined.
The great business of the continent is, agriculture. For one artisan, or merchant, I suppose, we have at least one hundred farmers, by far the greatest part cultivators of their own fertile lands, from whence many of them draw not only food necessary for their subsistence, but the materials of their clothing, so as to need very few foreign supplies; while they have a surplus of productions to dispose of, whereby wealth is gradually accumulated. Such has been the goodness of Divine Providence to these regions, and so fayourable the climate, that, since the three or four years of hardship in the first settlement of our fathers here, a famine or scarcity has never been heard of amongst us; on the contrary, though some years may have been more, and others less plentiful, there has always been provision enough for ourselves, and
a quantity a quantity to spare for exportation. And although the crops of last year were generally good, never was the farmer better paid for the part he can spare commerce, as the published price currents abundantly testify. . The lands he posfesses are also continually rising in value with the increase of population ; and, on the whole, he is enabled to give such good wages to those who work for him, that all who are acquainted with the old world must agree, that in no part of it are the labouring poor lo generally well fed, well clothed, well lodged, and well paid, as in the United States of America.