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ploy, and to be well paid for their work, there being no restraints preventing strangers from exercising any art they understand, nor any permission necessary. If they aje poor, they begin first as servants or journeymen; and if they are sober, industrious, and frugal, they soon become masters, establish themselves in business, marry, raise families, and become respectable citizens.
Also, persons of, moderate families and capitals, who, having a number of children to provide for, are desirous of bringing them up to industry, and to secure estates to their posterity, have opportunities of doing it in America which Europe does not afford. There they may be taught and practise profitable mechanic arts, without incurring disgrace on that account; but on the contrary, acquiring respect to such abilities. Their small capitals laid out in lands, which daily become more valuable by the increase of people, afford a solid prospect of ample fortunes thereafter for those children. The writer of this has known several instances of large tracts of land bought on what was then the frontiers of Pennsylvania, for ten pounds per hundred acres, which, after twenty years, when the settlements had been extended far beyond them, sold readily, without any improvement made upon them, for three pounds per acre.
The acre in America is the same with the English
acre, or the acre of Normandy.
Those who desire to understand the state of government in America, would do well to read the Constitutions of the several States, and the articles of confederation which bind the whole together for general purposes, under the direction of one Assembly, called the Congress. These constitutions have been printed by order of Congress in America; two editions of them have been printed in London; and a good translation of them into French has lately been published at Paris.
Several of the Princes of Europe having of late, from an opinion of advantage to arise by producing all commodities and manufactures within their own dominions, so as to diminish or render useless their importations, have endeavored to entice workmen from other countries, by high salaries, privileges, &c. Many persons pretending to be skilled in various great manufactures, imagining that America must be in want of them, and that the Congress would probably
be disposed to imitate the princes above mentior.ed, have proposed to go over on condition of having their passa ges paid, lands given, salaries appointed, exclusive privileges for ierms of years, &c. Such persons, on reading the articles of confederation, will find that the Congress have no power committed to them, or money put into their hands, for such purposes; and that, if any such encouragement is given, it must be by the government of some separate state. This, however has rarely been done in America; and when it has been done, it has rarely succeeded, so as to establish a manufacture, which the country was not yet so ripe for as to encourage private persons to set it up; labor being generally too dear, and hands difficult to be kept together, every one desiring to be a master, and the cheapness of land inclining many to leave trades for agriculture. Some, indeed, have met with success, and are carried on to advantage; but they are generally such as require only a few hands, or wherein great part of the work is performed by machines. Goods that are bulky, and of so small a value as not well to bear the expense of freight, may often be made cheaper in the country than they can be imported; and the manufacture of such goods will be profitable wherever there is a sufficient demand. The farmers in America produce indeed a good deal of wool and flax, and none is exported—it is all worked up; but it is in the way of domestic manufacture, for the use of the family. The buying up quantities of wool and flax, with the design to employ spinners, weavers, &c. and form great establishments, producing quantities of linen and woollen goods for sale, has been several times attempted in different provinces; but those projects have generally failed, goods of equal value being imported cheaper. And when the governments have been solicited to support such schemes by encouragements in money, or by imposing duties on importation of such goods, it has been generally refused, on this principle, that if the country is ripe for the manufacture, it may be carried on by private persons to advantage: and, if not, it is folly to think of forcing nature.
Great establishments of manufacture require great numbers of poor to do the work for small wages; those poorare to be found in Europe, but will not be found in America, till the lands are all taken up and cultivated, and the excess of people who cannot get land
want employment. The manufacture of silk, they say, is natural in France, as that of cloth in England, because each country produces in plenty the first material; but if England will have a manufacture of silk as well as that of cloth, and France of cloth as well as that of silk, these unnatural operations must be supported by mutual prohibitions, or high duties on the importation of each other's goods; by which means the workmen are nabled to tax the homeconsumer by greater prices, while the higher wages they receive makes them neither happier nor richer, since they only drink more and work less. Therefore the governments in America do nothing to encourage such projects. The people hy this means are not imposed on either by the merchant or mechanic: if the merchant demands too much profit on imported shoes, they buy of the shoemaker; and if he asks too high a price, they take them of the merchant: thus the two professions are checks on each other. The shoemaker however has, on the whole, a considerable profit upon his labor in America, beyond what he had in Europe, as he can add to his price a sum nearly equal to all the expenses of freight and commission, risk or assurance, &c. necessarily charged by the merchant. And the case is the same with the workmen in every other mechanic art. Hence it is that the artisans generally live better and more easily in America than in Europe; and such as are good econonists make a comfortable provision for age, and for their children. Such may, therefore, remove with advantage to America.
In the old, long-settled countries of Europe, all arts, trades, professions, farms, &c. are so full that it is difficult for a poor man who has children to place them where they may gain, or learn to gain, a decent livelihood. The artisans who fear creating future rivals in business, refuse to take apprentices, but upon conditions of money, maintenance, or the like, which the parents are unable to comply with. Hence the youth are dragged up in ignorance of every gainful art, and obliged to become soldiers, or servants, or thieves, for a subsistence. In America the rapid increase of inhabitants takes away that fear of rivalship, and artisans willingly receive apprentices from the hope of profit by their labor, during the remainder of the time stipulated, after they shall be instructed. Hence it is easy for poor fami
lies to get their children instructed; for the artisans are so desirous of apprentices, that many of them will even give money to the parents, to have boys from ten to fifteen years of age, bound apprentices to them till the age of twentyone; and many poor parents have, by that means, on their arrival in the country, raised money enough to buy land sufficient to establish themselves, and to subsist the rest of the family by agriculture. These contracts for apprentices are made before a magistrate, who regulates the agreement according to reason and justice; and having in view the formation of a future useful citizen, obliges the master to engage by a written indenture, not only that, during the time of service stipulated, the apprentice shall be duly provided with meat, drink, apparel, washing, and lodging, and at its expiration with a complete new suit of clothes, but also, that he shall be taught to read, write, and cast accounts; and that he shall be well instructed in the art or profession of his master, or some other, by which he may afterwards gain a livelihood, and be able in his tum to raise a family. A copy of this indenture is given to the apprentice or his friends, and the magistrate keeps a record of it, to which recourse may be had, in case of failure by the master in any point of performance. This desire among the masters to have more hands employed in working for them, induces them to pay the passage of young persons of both sexes, who, on their arrival, agree to serve them one, two, three, or four years; those who have already learned a trade, agreeing for a shorter term, in proportion to their skill, and the consequent immediate value of their service; and those who have none, agreeing for a longer term, in consideration of being taught an art their poverty would not permit them to acquire in their own country.
The almost general mediocrity of fortune that prevails in America, obliging its people to follow some business for subsistence, those vices that arise usually from idleness are in a great measure prevented. Industry and constant employment are great preservatives of the morals and virtue of a nation. Hence bad examples to youth are more rare in America, which must be a comfortable consideration to parents. To this may be truly added, that serious religion, under its various denominations, is not only tolerated but respected and practised. Atheism is unknown there; and
infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with either an atheist or an infidel. And the Divine Being seems to have manifested his approbation of the mutual forbearance and kindness with which the different sects treat each other, by the remarkable prosperity with which He has been pleased to favor the whole country,
THOUGHTS ON COMMERCIAL SUBJECTS. OF EMBARGOES UPON CORN, AND OF THE POOR.
In inland high countries, remute from the sea, and whose rivers are small, running from the country and not to it, as is the case with Switzerland; great distress may arise from a course of bad harvests, if public granaries are not provided and kept well stored. Anciently, too, before navigation was so general, ships so plenty, and commercial transactions so well established, even maritime countries might be occasionally distressed by bad crops. But such is now the facility of communication between those countries, that an unrestrained commerce can scarce ever fail of procuring a sufficiency for any of them. If indeed any government is so imprudent as to lay its hands on imported com, forbid its exportation, or compel its sale at limited prices, there the people may suffer some famine from merchants avoiding their ports. But wherever commerce is known to be always free, and the merchant absolute master of his commodity, as in Holland, there will always be a reasonable supply.
When an exportation of corn takes place, occasioned by a higher price in some foreign countries, it is common to raise a clamor, on the supposition that we shall thereby produce a domestic famine. Then follows a prohibition founded on the imaginary distresses of the poor. The poor to be sure, if in distress, should be relieved; but if the farmer could have a high price for his corn from the foreign demand, must he by a prohibition of exportation be compelled to take a low price, not of the poor only, but of every bne that eats bread, even the richest? The duty of relier