Page images
PDF
EPUB

to be attended with the happiest effects. But hitherto that seems to have been scarcely adverted to. Time will be necessary to eradicate common notions of very old standing, before this can be effectually done.

Mr. W. Brodie, shipmaster in Leith, has lately adopted a contrivance for this purpose, that seems to be at the same time very simple and extremely efficacious. Necessity in this case, as in many others, was the mother of invention. He had a small, flat, ill built boat, which was so ill constructed as scarcely to admit of carrying a bit of sail on any occasion, and which was at the same time so heavy to be rowed, that he found great difficulty in using it for his ordinary occasions : In reflecting on the means that might be adopted for giving this useless cable such a hol of the water as to admit of his employing a sail when he found it necessary, it readily occurred that a greater depth of keel would have this tendency. But a greater depth of keel, though it would have been useful for this purpose, he easily foresaw, would make his boat be extremely inconvenient on many other occasions. To effect both purposes, he thought of adopting a moveable keel, which would admit of being let down or taken up at pleasure. This idea he immediately carried into effect, by fixing a bar of iron of the depth he wanted, along each side of the keel, moving upon hinges that admitted of being moved in one direction, but which could not be bent back in the opposite direction. Thus, by means of a small chain fixed to each end, these moveable keels could be easily lifted up at pleasure ; so that when he was entering into a harbour, or shoal water, he had only to lift up his keels, and the boat was as capable of being managed there, as if he had wanted them entirely; and when he went out to sea, where there was depth enough, by letting them down, the lee keel took a firm hold of the water, (while the other floated loose,) and gave such a steadiness to all its movements, as can scarcely be conceived by those who have not experienced it.

This gentleman one day carried me out with him in his boat to try it. We made two experiments. At first, with a moderate breeze, when the moveable keels were kept up, the boat, when laid as near the wind as it could go, made an angle with the wake of about thirty degrees ; but when the keels were let down, the same angle did not exceed five or six degrees, being nearly parallel with the course.

At another time, the wind was right a head, a brisk breeze. When we began to beat up against it, a trading sloop was very near us, steering the same course

with us. This sloop went through the water a good deal faster than we could: but in the course of two hours beating to windward, we found that the sloop was left behind two feet in three; though it is certain, that if our false keels had not been let down, we could scarcely, in that situation, bave advanced one foot for her three.

It is unnecessary to point out to seafaring men the benefits that may be derived from this contrivance in certain circumstances, as these will be very obvious to them.

-000

NORTH-WEST PASSAGE.

NotWITHSTANDING the many fruitless attempts that have been made to discover a north-west passage into the South Seas, would seem that this important geographical question is not yet fully decided ; for at a meeting of the Academy of Sciences, at Paris, held on the 13th of November last, M. Bauche, first geographer to the king, read a curious memoir concerning the north-west passage. M. de Mendoza, an intelligent captain of a vessel in the service of Spain, charged with the care of former establishments favourable to the marine, has made a careful examination of the archives of several departments : there he has found the relation of a voyage made in the year 1598, by Lorenzo Herrero de Maldonada. There it appears, that at the entry into Davis's Straits, north lat. 60 degrees and 28 of longitude, counting from the first meridian, he turned to the west, leaving Hudson's Bay on the south, and Baffin's Bay on the north. Arrived at latitude 65 and 297, he went towards the north by the Straits of Labrador, till he reached 76, and 278:and, finding himself in the icy Sea, he turned south-west to lat. 60 and 135, where he found a strait, which separates Asia from America, by which he entered into the South Sea, which he called the Straits of Anian. This passages ought to be, according to M. Bauche, between William's Sound and Mount St. Elias. The Russians and Captain Cook have not observed it, because it is very narrow. But it is to be wished, that this important discovery should be verified, which has been overlook ed for two centuries, in spite of the attempts which have been made on these coasts. M. Bauche calls this passage the Straits of Ferrer.

POSITIONS TO BE EXAMINED.

1. All food, or subsistence for mankind, arise from the earth or waters.

2. Necessaries of life that are not foods, and all other conveniences, have their value estimated by the proportion of food consumed while we are employed in procuring them.

3. A small people, with a large territory, may subsist on the productions of nature, with no other labour than that of gathering the vegetables and catching the animals.

4. A large people, with a small territory, find these insufficient; and, to subsist, must labour the earth, to make it produce greater quantities of vegetable food, suitable to the nourishment of men, and of the animals they intend to eat.

5. From this labour arises a great increase of vegetable and animal.food, and of materials for clothing; as flax, wool, silk, &c. The superfluity of these is wealth. With this wealth we pay for the labour employed in building our houses, cities, &c. which are therefore only subsistence thus metamorphosed.

6. Manufactures are only another shape into which so much provisions and substance are turned, as were in value equal to the manufactures produced. This appears from hence, that the manufacturer does not, in fact, obtain from the employer, for his labour, more than a mere subsistence, including raiment, fuel, and shelter: all which derive their value from the provisions consumed in procuring them.

7. The produce of the earth, thus converted into manufactures, may be more easily carried into distant markets, than before such conversion.

8. Fair commerce is where equal values are exchanged for equal, the expense of transport included. Thus, if it cost A. in England, as much labour and charge to raise a bushel of wheat, as it cost B. in France to produce four gallons of wine, then are four gallons of wine the fair exchange for a bushel of wheat, A. and B. meeting at a half distance with commodities to make the exchange. The advantage of this fair commerce is, that each party increases the number of his enjoyments, having instead of wheat alone, or wine alone, the use of both wheat and wine.

9. Where the labour and expense of producing both commodities are known to both parties, bargains will generally be fair and equal. Where they are known

to one party only, bargains will often be unequal, knowledge taking its advantage of ignorance.

10. Thus he that carries a thousand bushels of wheat abroad to sell, may not probably obtain so great a profit thereon, as if he had first turned the wheat into manufactures, by subsisting therewith the workmen while producing those manufactures, since there are many expediting and facilitating methods of working, not generally known, and strangers to the manufactures, though they know pretty well the expense of raising wheat, are unacquainted with those short methods of working; and thence, being apt to suppose more labour employed in the manufacture than there really is, are more easily imposed on in their value, and induced to allow more for them than they are honestly worth.

11. Thus the advantage of having manufactures in a country does not consist, as is commonly supposed, in their highly advancing the value of rough materials, of which they are formed; since, though sixpenny worth of flax may be worth twenty shillings when worked into lace, yet the very cause of its being worth twenty shillings is that, besides the flax, it has cost nineteen shillings and sixpence in subsistence to the manufacturer. But the advantage of manufactures is, that under their shape, provisions may be more easily carried to a foreign market: and by their means our traders may more easily cheat strangers. Few, where it is not made, are judges of the value of lace. The importer may demand forty, and perhaps get thirty shillings for that which cost him but twenty.

12. Finally, there seems to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbours; this is robbery - The second by commerce, which is generally cheating.-The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein a man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by the hand of God in his favour, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry.

FRANKLIN.

[ocr errors]

PRELIMINARY ADDRESS

TO THE PENNSYLVANIA ALMANAC,

Entitled, Poor Richard's Almanac, for the year 1758.

WRITTEN BY DR. FRANKLIN.

I have heard, that nothing gives an author so great pleasure as to find his works respectfully quoted by other learned authors. This pleasure I have seldom enjoyed; for though I have been, if I may say it without vanity, an eminent author (of Almanacs) annually, now a full quarter of a century, my brother authors in the same way (for what reason I know

have ever been very sparing in their applauses; and no other author has taken the least notice of me : so that, did not my writings produce me some solid pudding, the great deficiency of praise would have quite discouraged me.

I concluded, at length, that the people were the best judges of my merit, for they buy my works; and, besides, in my rambles, where I am not personally known, I have frequently heard one another of my adages repeated, with “As poor Richard says," at the end on't. This gave me some satisfaction, as it showed not only that my instructions were regarded, but discovered likewise some respect for my authority ; and I own, that to encourage the practice of remembering and repeating those wise sentences, I have sometimes quoted myself with great gravity.

Judge, then, much I have been gratified by an incident which I am going to relate to you. I stopped my horse lately, where a great number of people were collected at an auction of merchants' goods. The hour of sale not being come, they were conversing on the badness of the times; and one of the company called to a plain, clean old man, with white locks,“ Pray, father Abraham, what think ye of the times? Wont these heavy taxes quite ruin the country? How shall we ever be able to pay them? What would you advise us to ?Father Abraham stood up and replied, “ If you'd have my advice, I'll give it to you in short ;

for a word to the wise is enough ; and many words wont fill a bushel,' as poor Richard says.” They joined 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

« PreviousContinue »