The political Scenes in which we have jointly acted and the Share you still take in the public affairs render any apology for this letter unnecessary. Your Situation must give you a more enlarged view of the involved Situation of the people as Individuals and of our Country as a State. [F]our years peace instead of lessening have greatly increased the former and but little diminished the latter Debt nor would the longest Calm if we persist in our present ill Conduct bring any Relief[;] nothing but our inability to pay will stop the immoderate imports and in the present Humour [sic] if we were Creditors this we should be Debtors on the Ballance [sic] next year. The maxims lately in so many Mouths "nothing like a free Trade"[,] ["]Trade can best regulate itself["] and the like have been proved by dear bought Experiences to be but frothy Sayings[,] and was it not the highest vanity and folly in the extreme to imagine that a lot of men in the mercantile Line as they call it[,] not one half of whom can even raise or ballance [sic] a Set of Books, should be able to out trade all the people of Europe? The Event is such only as might have been expected if the Evil extended to none but those who engaged in it[,] although the Ruin of any Body of men is much to be regretted[.] [T]he frequency of Bankruptcies would not have been so distressing but in almost all our Commerce the profit was proposed and, if any, was made out of ourselves[;] little Specie and very few raw materials to be wrought into more valuable things have been imported. Manufacturing is at an End[,] and that useful Body of people cannot without difficulty be brought back to their old Employments. Nothing is added to the common Stock but by the plough and the hoe all else is but shifting Hands we cannot maintain so many on this Stock on a decline in the price of produce nor can the Quantity of produce be expected to increase with the increase of the people so that numbers after being raised amongst us must leave us. Hunting maintained a few scattered Indians. Agriculture maintains about 250 thousand people and Manuf. [manufacturing] joined with Agriculture might maintain Millions within the Bounds of this State. The Exports are chiefly on the planters and foreigners Acco. [accounts] [T]he Imports chiefly on Account of our Merchants and Shopkeepers[;] the Number of the latter with their Families is by much too great for the number of other people[;] the lower proportion I believe exceeds that of the priests to the Laity in any Roman Catholic Country in any period and like them they live the best[;] if this is the present and like to be the future State of Things in peace[,] what will be our Condition in Case of a war however necessary? [W]here Shall we find the man who can point out the Resources in such Event? I doubt we shall never find soldiers again who will to fight without victuals in old Raggs made into square
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