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for useful purposes, even by those who possess it, in ever so great profusion. Whoever swallows two gills of distilled spirits daily, destroys 20 bushels of rye a year; for the want of which some of his own posterity may eventually starve.
6 In this way, it has been estimated by a late writer, that the people of the United States, destroy thirty millions of dollars annually. Considering this, and the many other useless and superfluous modes of diminishing the common stock of national wealth, there is no reason to be surprised to hear the present universal re-echo of “hard times,” “dull times," "scarcity of money, '. "sales by execution," “difficulty of collecting debts,” “insolvencies," "pauperism,” fic. &c.
SECTION III. Speech of the Little Turtle, an Indian Chief. 1 The following specimen of Indian wisdom and pathetic eloquence, was addressed to a committee appointed by the Society of Friends, “For Promoting the Improvement and Civilization of the Indian Natives," at Baltimore, in 1802. It presents a striking mirror to the contemplation of their white brethren. The example of the red chiefs of the forest, and the black chiefs of Hayti, in excluding “the poison of the moral world”* from their people, deserves approbation and imitation.
2 “ Brothers and Friends -When our forefathers first met on this island, your red brethren were very numerous. But since the introduction amongst us of what you call spirituous liquors, and what we think
may be justly called POISON, our numbers are greatly diminished. It has destroyed a great part of your red brethren.
3 “My Brothers and Friends,—We plainly perceive, that you see the very evil which destroys your red brethren; it is not an evil of our own making; we have not placed it amongst ourselves; it is an evil placed amongst us by the white people; we look to them to remove it out of our country. We tell them,—brethren, fetch us useful things ; bring goods that will clothe us, our women and our children, and not this evil liquor that destroys our reason, that destroys our health, that destroys our lives. But all we can say on this subject is of no service, nor gives relief to your red brethren.
* Dr. Mitchill.
4. “My Brothers and Friends,- I rejoice to find that you agree in opinion with us, and express an anxiety to be, if possible, of service to us in removing this great evil out of our country; an evil which has had so much room in it, and has destroyed so many of our lives, that it causes our young men to say, "we had better be at war with the white people; this liquor which they introduce into our couniry, is more to be feared than the gun and the tomahawk.
There are more of us dead since the treaty of Greenville, than we lost by the six years' war before. It is all owing to the introduction of this liquor amongst us.'
5 “ Brothers,—When our young men have been out hunting, and are returning home loaded with skins and furs, on their way, if it happens that they come along where some of this whisky is deposited, the white man who sells it, tells them to take a little drink; some of them will say no, I do not want it; they go on till they come to another house, where they find more of the same kind of drink; it is there offered again; they refuse; and again the third time; but finally, the fourth or fifth time, one accepts of it, and takes a drink, and getting one, he wants another; and then a third and fourth, till his senses have left him.
6 “After his reason comes back again to him, when he gets up and finds where he is, he asks for his peltry; the answer is, you have drank them;' where is my gun? 'it is gone;' where is my blanket? it is gone;' where is my shirt ? 'you have sold it for whisky !! Now, Brothers, figure to yourselves what condition this man must be in. He has a family at home, a wife and children who stand in need of the profits of his hunting. What must be their wants, when he himself is even without a shirt ?"
SECTION I. Desultory observations on Moral Reformation and
National Economy. 1 TO attack ancient and favorite habits and prejudices, is not a very encouraging or agreeable undertaking. While error is venerated for its antiquity, truth is discarded for its novelty. But there is great consolation in the consciousness
of having done our best to benefit our fellow men, even if our good offices are not kindly received, or duly appreciated.
2 “Let it be remembered,” says the author of the Friend of Peace, in his reasons for believing that efforts for the abolition of war will not be in vain, “ that the charge of a chimerical project, or «Utopian scheme,' has been uniformly made against the first efforts for the abolition of any popular custom; yet many such attempts have succeeded, to the astonishment and joy of those who once regarded them as fit subjects of ridicule.”
3 In a letter of Doctor Rush, to George Clymer, Esq. "on the amusements and punishments proper for schools,” he says, “I know how apt mankind are to brand every propo sition for innovation, as visionary and Utopian; but good men should not be discouraged by such epithets, from their attempts to combat vice and error.”
4 After noticing many of the most valuable discoveries and improvements for meliorating the condition of man, which have been denounced as Utopian projects, he concludes his letter, with an anecdote of a minister in London, who, after employing a long sermon, in controverting what he supposed to be an heretical opinion, concluded it with the following words: “I tell you, I tell you, my brethren, I tell you again, that an old error is better than a new truth”
5 We ought not to shrink from the investigation of truth, however unpopular, nor conceal it, whatever the profession of it may cost. Through exertions of this sort are sometimes imputed to unworthy motives, and disinterested attempts to serve the best interests of humanity, are frequently rewarled with insult and reproach, we ought to reflect that this is the treatment which the advocates of truth have met wih in almost every age.
6 As it is our design to promote the prosperity of socieey in the aggregate, it is hoped that individuals, whose occupations depend on those popular follies which we shall endeavor to exterminate, will not be offended at the course which a sense of duty impels us to pursue. “ It will be impossible to do much good without some persons accounting themselves injured by what you do. You will unavoidably serve some interests to which others are inimical.”+
7 We cannot subscribe to the doctrine of Goldsmith, that
* Gov. Miller's Message to the Legislature of North Carolina, in 1815 | Essays to do Good.
luxury and fanciful fashions are beneficial, upon a general scale, because they multiply employment for the laboring classes of society. The rational wants of mankind are sufficiently numerous to employ the industry and ingenuity of all who are able and willing to labor.
8 To scrutinize and determine the propriety or impropriety of ideas and habits acquired from precept or example in early life, (when their correctness is not called in question,) we need the faculty of divesting ourselves from the influence of previous impressions, and of viewing things with which we have been long familiarized, as though they were newly presented to our senses.
9 Regardless of the shafts of wit or resentment, or the imputation of eccentricity, we shall endeavor to exhibit a faithful chart of the mistakes and eccentricities of society.
10 The most universal, mischievous, expensive, and inexcusable customs of the present age of luxury and extravagance, are those of adopting sugar, tea and coffee, ardent spirits and tobacco, as articles of daily consumption. These insatiable, but fashionable leeches to the public wealth, and canker-worms to health and life, ought to be extirpated, if it were for no other reason than their enormous expense, but still more for their deleterious effects.
11 The habitual free use of sugar, has been justly condemned, as injurious to health, by Locke, Buchan, Willich, and others. It is employed to disguise the taste of several other pernicious articles; as tea, coffee, distilled spirits, &c. until the reluctant appetite is perverted and reconciled to their daily use. The mischief of coffee and tea is increased by the hot water in which they are drank. Coffee, though a useful medicine, if drank constantly, will at length induce a decay of health and hectic fever. *
12 Tea possesses an acrid astringent quality, peculiar to most leaves and exterior bark of trees, and corrodes and
paralyzes the nerves. Is nature so partial that she has denied the American continent a single product fit for an infusion at our tables? Is it fashion, or depraved appetite, or both, that induces nearly all the inhabitants of America, to drink China tea and West India coffee, in preference to the far more nutritious and salubrious drinks, which may
be prepared from the various farinaceous seeds, milk, and other materials of domestic production?
* See Dr. Willich's Art of preserving Health and prolonging Life.
13 We have late accounts from China, that in the course of six months American ships alone deposited in Canton the enormous sum of five millions of dollars !. Deluded Americans! Boasters of patriotism, liberty, virtue and independence! Will you remain politically and intellectually blind, until your last silver dollar is shipped to China for tea; and your last bushel of wheat to the West Indies for coffee, rum and sugar?
14 What avails the heroism, the sacrifice of blood and treasure, and the indescribable sufferings of your fathers in resisting British compulsion, while you voluntarily bestow ten fold more tribute upon foreign nations than a monarch would demand ?*
15 “When navigation is employed only for transporting necessary provisions from one country, where they abound, to another where they are wanting ; when by this it prevents famines, which were so frequent and so fatal before it was invented and became so common; we cannot help considering it as one of those arts which contribute most to the happiness of mankind.
16 “ But when it is employed to transport things of no utility, or articles merely of luxury, it is then uncertain whether the advantages resulting from it are sufficient to counterbalance the misfortunes it occasions, by exposing the lives of so many individuals upon the vast ocean. And when it is used to plunder vessels and transport slaves, it is
* In the present crisis of general embarrassment (1823) in the United States, the considerations of patriotism dictate the universal renunciation of the use of tea and other foreign luxuries, as imperiously as at the commencement of the Revolution. Some respectable families have already commencod a reformation in this respect. The example upon an extensive scale, first mentioned, and to a limited extent, of a number of families in England, who were prevailed on by the influence and eloquence of Wesley, to abstain from the use of tea, chiefly for the laudable purposes of devcting the savings to the relief of the poor, is a sufficient demonstration of the safety of rejecting the habit of tea drinking, as it respects health. The inconvenience was of short duration, and succeeded by an improved state of health, in the cases related by Wesley. The sudden and total disuse of tea, by persons far advanced in life, might produce more injury than benefit to them, as is apt to be the case in the confirmed habit of taking any narcotic, or unnatural stimulant, such as tobacco, opium, spirits, &c. But there is no question of the propriety and duty of rescuing the rising generation entirely from the injurious and costly custom of swallowing, annually, during life, three hundred and sixty-five quarts each of scalding tea, which is well known to anticipate the effects of time, in withering the blooming cheek of youth.