Vie de Benjamin Franklin, écrite par lui-même - Tome II suivie de ses œuvres morales, politiques et littéraires

By Benjamin Franklin

Page 91

est d'une très-bonne
qualité, et qu'il croît spontanément sur les bords de l'Ohio, ainsi que
nous l'avons avancé. Qu'on considère donc que, par rapport au chanvre,
l'Angleterre dépend chaque jour davantage de la Russie, et qu'on n'en a
pas encore exporté des colonies américaines, situées sur le bord de la
mer, parce que leur sol n'en produit pas aisément. Et, certes, alors on
verra que cette dépendance peut avoir des conséquences graves pour la
nation, et mérite toute l'attention du gouvernement.--La nature nous
indique où nous pouvons recueillir promptement et facilement une grande
quantité de chanvre; et par ce moyen, non-seulement nous empêcherons,
chaque année, des sommes considérables de sortir du royaume, mais nous
emploierons nos propres sujets avec beaucoup d'avantage, et nous les
paierons avec des marchandises de nos manufactures.--Voici, en abrégé,
l'état du commerce de Russie.

Depuis l'année 1722 jusqu'en 1731,
l'Angleterre envoya annuellement 250
vaisseaux chercher du chanvre à Petersbourg,
à Narva, à Riga et à Archangel. 250 vais.

Et depuis 1762 jusqu'en 1771, 500 vaisseaux. 500
Accroissement. 250 vais.

Il est donc évident que dans les dix dernières années, le commerce russe
a doublé. La sagesse, la politique de la nation européenne, qui entend
le mieux le commerce et la navigation, lui permettent-elles d'avoir sans
cesse besoin des étrangers pour se procurer une marchandise dont dépend
l'existence de sa navigation et de son commerce? Non, assurément; et
sur-tout quand Dieu nous a accordé la propriété d'un pays produisant
naturellement cette même marchandise qui nous fait débourser notre
argent, en nous mettant à la merci de la Russie.

Nous n'avons encore parlé que des petits frais de transport entre le
Potomack et l'Ohio. Maintenant nous allons essayer de montrer combien
les lords commissaires du commerce et des colonies se sont trompés, en

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