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Sir Francis Bacon

Essay 33

Of Plantations.
1 PLantations are amongst Ancient, Primitiue, and Heroicall Workes. When the World was young, it begate more Children; But now it is old, it begets fewer: For I may iustly account new Plantations, to be the Children of former Kingdomes. I like a Plantation in a Pure Soile; that is, where People are not Displanted, to the end, to Plant in Others. For else, it is rather an Extirpation, then a Plantation. Planting of Countries, is like Planting of Woods; For you must make account, to leese almost Twenty yeeres Profit, and expect your Recompence, in the end. For the Principall Thing, that hath beene the Destruction of most Plantations, hath beene the Base, and Hastie drawing of Profit, in the first Yeeres. It is true, Speedie Profit is not to be neglected, as farre as may stand, with the Good of the Plantation, but no further. It is a Shamefull and Vnblessed Thing, to take the Scumme of People, and Wicked Condemned Men, to be the People with whom you Plant: And not only so, but it spoileth the Plantation; For they will euer liue like Rogues, and not fall to worke, but be Lazie, and doe Mischiefe, and spend Victuals, and be quickly weary, and then Certifie ouer to their Country, to the Discredit of the Plantation. The People wherewith you Plant, ought to be Gardners, Plough-men, Labourers, Smiths, Carpenters, Ioyners, Fisher-men, Fowlers, with some few Apothecaries, Surgeons, Cookes, and Bakers. In a Country of Plantation, first looke about, what kinde of Victuall, the Countrie yeelds of it selfe, to Hand: As Chestnuts, Wall-nuts, Pine-Apples, Oliues, Dates, Plummes, Cherries, Wilde-Hony, and the like: and make vse of them. Then consider, what Victuall or Esculent Things there are, which grow speedily, and within the yeere; As Parsnips, Carrets, Turnips, Onions, Radish, Artichokes of Hierusalem, Maiz, and the like. For Wheat, Barly, and Oats, they aske too much Labour: But with Pease, and Beanes, you may begin; Both because they aske lesse Labour, and because they serue for Meat, as well as for Bread. And of Rice likewise commeth a great Encrease, and it is a kinde of Meat. Aboue all, there ought to be brought Store of Bisket, Oat-meale, Flower, Meale, and the like, in the beginning, till Bread may be had. For Beasts, or Birds, take chiefly such, as are least Subiect to Diseases, and Multiply fastest: As Swine, Goats, Cockes, Hennes, Turkies, Geese, House-doues, and the like. The Victuall in Plantations, ought to be expended, almost as in a Besieged Towne; That is, with certaine Allowance. And let the Maine Part of the Ground employed to Gardens or Corne, bee to a Common Stocke; And to be Laid in, and Stored vp, and then Deliuered out in Proportion; Besides some Spots of Ground, that any Particular Person, will Manure, for his owne Priuate. Consider likewise, what Commodities the Soile, where the Plantation is, doth naturally yeeld, that they may some way helpe to defray the Charge of the Plantation: So it be not, as was said, to the vntimely Preiudice, of the maine Businesse; As it hath fared with Tobacco in Virginia. Wood commonly aboundeth but too much; And therefore, Timber is fit to be one. If there be Iron Vre, and Streames whereupon to set the Milles; Iron is a braue Commoditie, where Wood aboundeth. Making of Bay Salt, if the Climate be proper for it, would be put in Experience. Growing Silke likewise, if any be, is a likely Commoditie. Pitch and Tarre, where store of Firres and Pines are, will not faile. So Drugs, and, Sweet Woods, where they are, cannot but yeeld great Profit. Soape Ashes likewise, and other Things, that may be thought of. But moile not too much vnder Ground: For the Hope of Mines is very Vncertaine, and vseth to make the Planters Lazie, in other Things. For Gouernment, let it be in the Hands of one, assisted with some Counsell: And let them haue Commission, to exercise Martiall Lawes, with some limitation. And aboue all, let Men make that Profit of being in the Wildernesse, as they haue God alwaies, and his Seruice, before their Eyes. Let not the Gouernment of the Plantation, depend vpon too many Counsellours, and Vndertakers, in the Countrie that Planteth, but vpon a temperate Number: And let those be, rather Noblemen, and Gentlemen, then Merchants: For they looke euer to the present Gaine. Let there be Freedomes from Custome, till the Plantation be of Strength: And not only Freedome from Custome, but Freedome to carrie their Commodities, where they may make their Best of them, except there be some speciall Cause of Caution. Cramme not in People, by sending too fast, Company, after Company; But rather hearken how they waste, and send Supplies proportionably; But so, as the Number may liue well, in the Plantation, and not by Surcharge be in Penury. It hath beene a great Endangering, to the Health of some Plantations, that they haue built along the Sea, and Riuers, in Marish and vnwholesome Grounds. Therefore, though you begin there, to auoid Carriage, and other like Discommodities, yet build still, rather vpwards, from the Streames, then along. It concerneth likewise, the Health of the Plantation, that they haue good Store of Salt with them, that they may vse it, in their Victualls, when it shall be necessary. If you Plant, where Sauages are, doe not onely entertaine them with Trifles, and Gingles; But vse them iustly, and gratiously, with sufficient Guard neuerthelesse: And doe not winne their fauour, by helping them to inuade their Enemies, but for their Defence it is not amisse. And send oft of them, ouer to the Country, that Plants, that they may see a better Condition then their owne, and commend it when they returne. When the Plantation grows to Strength, then it is time, to Plant with Women, as well as with Men; That the Plantation may spread into Generations, and not be euer peeced from without. It is the sinfullest Thing in the world, to forsake or destitute a Plantation, once in Forwardnesse: For besides the Dishonour, it is the Guiltinesse of Bloud, of many Commiserable Persons.

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