WHILST we are prompted by a spirit of philanthro­py to desire the general happiness of Mankind; sound policy and justice dictate the necessity of promoting, in a more especial manner, the prosperity, the happiness and the independence of our fellow citizens. The law of Nature, as supported by reason, prescribes to us this course, as the only just foundation of our own individual happiness or safety.

The ancients, almost universally, agreed that Man was formed by Nature for society, and therefore obliged to ob­serve and practice whatever tends to the good of the com­munity, of which he is a member. This comprehensive rule was in all ages respected, until Hobbes, and other de­voted slaves to Tyrants, broached the detestable opinion, that the state of Nature, in respect to Man, is a state of war; that consequently all Men are enemies to each other, and that they are only to be governed by fear. This doctrine has been opposed by several eminent writers, and our obli­gation to render each other every friendly assistance has been established on a more rational foundation. Dr. Sharrack, of Oxford, in the year 1660, published a valuable work, on the duties of Man, according to the law of Nature; he appears to be one of the first who attempted to supply the great defect complained of by Lord Verulam, "that due care had not been taken to establish some certain principle for a foundation of morality." He considered that the end [Page 4]of every worthy and virtuous action is to remove uneasiness, and enjoy a serene tranquillity. The learned and good Bishop of Cumberland, some years afterwards, published a valuable treatise on the same subject; in which he maintains that the greatest benevolence of every rational agent towards all, forms the happiest state of every and of all, and is necessari­ly requisite to the best state to which Man can attain, and therefore, the common good is the supreme law.

The Earl of Shaftsbury considered the whole Universe as one system, composed of infinite other lesser systems, and these again of others. As our solar system has its several orbs, each of which is another system of itself: And what­ever there may be in the rest, in this of ours we know there are many systems, each made up of individuals, and every of these of different parts, each of which may be perfect in itself, considered as a part, as a perfect eye, hand, &c. but its use has reference to the whole, of which it is immediately a part; that to its greater, that again to another, and so on to the whole.

All those luminous Bodies observable in the Heavens, how­ever infinite in number, or distant, materially communicate with this Globe, and it is highly probable, that all and every of them contribute to the support and carrying on the work of each other: And consequently that they all make one universal whole system; they must all, therefore, be exactly proportioned and fitted each to the others' operations; for otherwise they must prove destructive one to the other, and produce the utmost confusion.

We know that the Planets within our own system have their projectile forces so suited to their gravities or attraction, as to perform their motions nearly in circles, which they do [Page 5]with such constancy, that all the eclipses of the luminaries that were ever known to have happened, or that may here­after happen, can be calculated to an hour with the same cer­tainty, as those of the present year.

In the animal and vegetable creation, every species is fur­nished with vessels, glands, and liquids the best adapted to its kind and to the perfection of its existence; accompanied, at the same time, with that uninterrupted constancy and un­erring certainty, that there is scarcely any one species of ani­mal or vegetable, as has ever been known with certainty to have existed on this Globe, but the same may be found at this day.

Such is the wonderful regularity of all Nature; that even the smallest particles of matter are so uniform in their ope­rations, that the effects which they will produce under parti­cular circumstances are known a priori, although these par­ticles are so small that they escape all our senses. A particle of light, which by a variety of experiments is ascertained to he matter, is so inconceivably small, that Dr. Barrow gave it as his opinion, that a particle of light is as much less than a grain of sand as that grain is less than the whole world.

Thus, from the most stupendous immensity, to the minut­est particles that can be conceived,—order, proportion, fitness and congruity in the relation and government of all things universally prevail, and this order is eternal. Every thing in the creation is found relative to a certain end, and though infinitely varied among themselves, are so managed and com­bined as to conspire all to the general design of universal good.

When we consider this beautiful order, established in the physical world, it is impossible to believe for a moment, that [Page 6]Man, designed the brightest ornament of the creation, should forever remain destitute of moral and political knowledge, the wretched object of injury and oppression. On the con­trary, God himself declared the perfectibility of the nature of Man, when he appeared to Abram, and said "I am the Almighty God, walk before me and be thou perfect." Our blessed Saviour, Jesus Christ, confirms this doctrine in a ser­mon breathing a spirit of general philanthropy and replete with the warmest sentiments of virtue, truth and justice. He says to his Disciples, "be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in Heaven is perfect." This opinion of the state of absolute perfection and happiness, designed for Man in this world, is not only supported by the powerful authority of the Holy Writings, but by Reason; which manifests to us, that the end which God had in view with regard to his Crea­tures, and particularly with respect to Man, was a state of perfection and happiness in this world. On whatever side we turn our eyes, we see nothing in nature which is not go­verned by laws proper to its existence, and which is not or­ganized in a manner to obey such laws; to acquire every succour which is agreeable to the nature of its being, or ne­cessary to the mode of its existence. Man is not neglected by his Creator: The gifts which to him are particular, and which give him the empire of the world, manifest that hap­piness and prosperity are designed for him, and an order pro­per to ensure him the enjoyment of them.

However Mankind may differ in opinion, respecting the perfectibility of Human Nature, all agree in deploring its miseries. This degraded state of Man has been affected by the Executive Magistrates of all Countries; who have uni­formly encroached on the liberties of the People, until such times as they filched from them their Sovereignty, and re­duced [Page 7]them to a state of wretchedness. Wars created by ambitious Executives have been undertaken more to their own aggrandizement and power, than for the protection of their Country. The People, involved in a state of abject misery by accumulated wrongs, and drove almost to a state of desperation,—are comforted with a promise of eternal hap­piness, by interested Priests, who participate with the Go­vernment in the plunder of its Citizens.

To escape from this combination of outrage and deception, our ancestors fled to the Wilderness of America; where they might enjoy their religious and political opinions without insult or injury. The native Indians gave them a kind re­ception, and at once permitted them to partake of all the ad­vantages they enjoyed themselves. Although William Penn, according to the unjustifiable custom of Europe, received a grant from the King of England, of the territory of Penn­sylvania, of which he was declared sole proprietor; yet, on his taking possession, a spirit of justice and philanthropy, which in all his transactions marked his conduct through life, engaged him to purchase the soil from the Natives; by which means the colony was preserved in peace, and flourished. The only difficulties it had to encounter were occasioned by the arbitrary regulations of the British Court, which interdicted our municipal regulations, obstructed our progress in manu­factures, and restricted our commerce; by which means she enjoyed a monopoly of the produce of our industry, highly injurious to this Country. Roused at length by repeated in­juries, Pennsylvania, united with her sister Colonies, and assisted by the blood and treasure of that brave and generous People, the French, we became a free, independent Republic. Having in this manner rejected the Government of Great Britain, and now united with our sister States for mutual aid and protection,—it becomes the undoubted duty of every [Page 8]Citizen of the United States, to give encouragement to the Mechanics, and Manufacturers of our Country; not by promoting prohibitory laws against the importation of Fo­reign Fabrics, but by calling our own manufactures into use; by which means we shall afford them the most substantial en­couragement.

The local and physical advantages enjoyed by the United States, afford to her Citizens the means of being supplied within themselves with most articles necessary or useful in life. This being an undeniable fact, it becomes criminal in her Citizens not to derive all the advantages in their power from circumstances thus placed within their reach. Civil society is so constituted, that its state of prosperity and power arises from the independence and prosperity of its members, and as eve­ry Citizen affords his aid to support its municipal regula­tions, by which the property of all is protected, it becomes not only the duty, but the interest, of every individual to promote the prosperity and independence of his Fellow Citi­zens. It is computed, that the Mechanics, and Manufactu­rers within the United States comprehend one twentieth part of our Citizens; that the Merchants, Agents, &c. com­pose one twentieth, and that eighteen twentieths are engag­ed in Agriculture. Those Men whose inclinations lead them to Mechanic or Manufacturing occupations for a support, and who have no desire to engage in the cares and fatigues of a Country life, will consider it for their advantage, that their Fellow-Citizens should give a preference to the produce of their industry, over Foreign Manufactures. The Mer­chants, merely as Agents, no doubt consider, that every kind of Mechanic and Manufacturing employ should be discou­raged within the United States, as agents equally interested in supporting the prosperity of the Foreign Manufacturer, as [Page 9]the American Farmer; they should rather be considered as Citizens of the World, than Citizens of any particular Com­monwealth. To send Clay to England to be returned made into Bricks, Limestone into Lime, and Wheat into Flour, would not be more absurd than the practice we have been in, for many years, of exporting our Flax-Seed, Iron and Furs to Europe, to be returned in a variety of Manufactur­ed Articles, equally capable of being fabricated amongst our­selves. Exporting all your Raw Materials to Europe, to be manufactured, would create a great degree of bustle at our sea-ports; would create a great quantity of shipping and would increase the business and wealth of the Merchants, but it would certainly add nothing to the actual wealth or in­dependence of our Country.

The Farmers, comprehending eighteen-twentieths of the People of the United States, are so advantageously situated, that they can manufacture, immediately from their own Farms, all the Woollen and Linen Cloth necessary in their families, and at a cheaper rate than any imported; taking into consideration the superior quality of the Domestic Ma­nufacture, for real use, and the time and labour bestowed and saved by the family. Independent of this important fact, it is the peculiar interest of the Farmers, that they should give every encouragement to the Mechanics, and Ma­nufacturers of the United States; by which they may pro­cure a certain and steady market at their own doors, for the surplus produce of their industry; which could not be inter­rupted by Foreign competition, or destroyed by the impolitic measures of our own Executive Government, or by the arbitra­ry laws of foreign Countries. The labour of the Citizens of the United States, actually engaged in Manufactures, can­to be procured at the low rate of that of the Subjects of [Page 10]England, either in Europe, or in India; nor should it be looked for by any man who values the real independence of his country. An exchange, for the mutual advantage of the parties, ought to be supported by justice. Every manufac­turer should have such an equivalent for his labour as to enable him to live with comfort; to educate his children and to preserve something for the support of his family in case of unavoidable accident. This is so far from being the case in the British dominions, from whence we derive most of our manufactures, that but a small number of the workmen re­ceive an adequate compensation for their labour.

In rewarding their exertions or ingenuity no rule of equity is attended to; on the contrary, a combination takes place to reduce the wages of the manufacturer to a scanty subsistence. From the tenderest infancy they are doomed to perpetual la­bour, and have no time, even in childhood, for the necessary exercise of the body, or the cultivation of the mind. Thus the poor man, upon whose industry depends the so much boasted extent of British manufactures is, by the force of ar­bitrary regulations, obliged to such excessive toil, that he is re­duced to a mere animal existence, having no interest in the prosperity of his country, or as little capable of serving it in time of danger.

In British India, Mr. Bolts and Colonel Dow concur in opi­nion respecting the severe treatment the manufacturers expe­rience.* "The assent of the poor weaver is, in general, not deemed necessary to the bargain, for the gomastahs or agents, when employed in the company's investments, frequently make them sign what they please and, upon the weavers re­fusing to take the money offered, it has been known that they have had it tied in their girdles, and they have been sent away with a flogging. A number of those weavers are also gene­rally [Page 11]registered in the books of the company's gomastahs, and not permitted to work for any others, being transferred from one to another, like so many slaves, and subject to the roguery of every succeeding gomastah. The winders of raw silk have been treated also with such injustice, that instances have been known of their cutting off their thumbs to prevent their being forced to wind silk." By such horrid outrages, against the rights of millions of our fellow creatures, do we become furnished, at so cheap a price, with the manufactures of the British dominions.

The present gloomy appearance of our public affairs has no doubt been occasioned by the Citizens of the United States having too much neglected the representative principles of the federal government, and looking up to one man for the salva­tion of our country. Similar causes will produce similar ef­fects to the end of time. Whenever men; by the abuse of that free will, given to them by the author of the universe for their own well-being, make use of it to destroy the natural order of things, in the moral and physical world, confusion and distress must be the consequence. When that highly fa­vored people, the Jews, sought a king to rule over them, God considered it not as an offence against Samuel and their El­ders, but against himself; as manifesting a desire to follow the corruptions of other nations, and to pervert the natural order which he had established for the good of the universe. He therefore gave them a king in his wrath, who was a curse to them, as kings have been a curse to mankind from that day to the present time. The kingly power, after having bee a scourge to Europe for ages, is now, by the light of the Ame­rican and French revolutions, coming to an end. It is devout­ly to be wished, that the citizens of the United States may be upon their guard not to suffer even the appearance of kingly [Page 12]authority to return amongst us to blast the fair prospects of our revolution. The liberty of our country must be support­ed on the foundation of that equality, ascertained by the laws of the creation, supported by the gospel, which acknowledges no distinction of bond or free. Self-interest may oppose, and sophistry may cavil, but equality, in its rational acceptation, as relating to civil privileges and impartial laws, gives dignity to the human character and prompts it to acts worthy of its origin.

Finally, republicans, let it be our studious care to vindicate the rights of oppressed humanity and to remove the false im­pressions of all unjust distinctions. Let us cultivate the principles of philanthropy, justice and equality, which are alto­gether incompatible with those systems of oppression and injustice, which for a length of time have darkened the face of the European world.

Let us not precipitately endeavour to accomplish that to day, which the dissemination of truth will make unavoida­ble to-morrow: Let us not anxiously watch for occasions and events; the ascendency of truth is independent of events. Let us anxiously refrain from violence; force is not convic­tion, and is extremely unworthy of the cause of justice: Let us admit into our bosoms neither contempt, animosity, resentment nor revenge. The cause of justice is the cause of humanity; its advocates should overflow with universal good will. We should love this cause; for it conduces to the general happiness of mankind. We should love it; for there is not a man that lives, who, in the natural and tran­quil progress of things, will not be made happier by its ap­proach.


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