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projects. The people by 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 shoeinaker however has, on the whole, a considerable profit on his labour 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 workman 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 economists, make a comfortable provision for age, and for their children. Such may, therefore, ove 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 labour, during the remainder of the time stipulated, after they shall be instructed. Hence it is easy for poor families 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 twenty-one; and many poor parents have, by that ineans, 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 magistrate, who regulates the agreement according to reason and justice; and, having in view the forma tion 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 sha be duly provided with meat, drink, apparel, washing and lodging, and at its expiration with a complet 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 turn 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 usu ally from idleness, are in a great measure prevented. Industry and constant employment are great preser vatives of the morals and virtue of a nation. Hence had examples to youth are more rare in America, which must be a comfortable consideration to pɛ rents. To this may be truly added, that serious re ligion, under its various denominations, is not only tolerated, but respected and practised. Atheism is unknown there; and infidelity rare and secret; s01 that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with
either an athiest or an infidel. And the Divine Be-. ing 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 favour the whole country.
THOUGHTS ON COMMERCIAL
Of Embargoes upon Corn, and of the Poor.
IN inland high countries, remote 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 graneries are not provided, and kept well stored. Anciently, too, before navigation was so general, ships so plenty, and commercial transactions so well established; even maratime countries might be occasionally distressed by bad crops. But such is now the facility of communication between those countries, that an unrestrained commerce çan scarce ever fail of procuring a sufficiency of any of them. If indeed any government is so imprudent as to lay its hands on imported corn, 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 clamour, on the supposition that we shall thereby produce a domestic famine. follows a prohibition, founded on the imaginary distresses of the poor. To be 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 ane that eats bread, even the richest? The duty of relieving the poor is incumbent on the rich; but by this operation the whole burden is laid on the farmer, who is to relieve the rich at the same time. Of the poor, too, those who are maintained by the parishes have no right to claim this sacrifice of the farmer; as while they have their allowance, it makes no differ ence to them, whether bread be cheap or dear.Those working poor, who now mind business only five or four days in the week, if bread should be so dear as to oblige them to work the whole six required by the commandment, do not seem to be aggrieved. so as to have a right to public redress. There will then remain, comparitively, only a few families in every district, who from sickness or a great number of children, will be so distressed by a high price of corn, as need relief; and these should be taken care of by particular benefactions, without restraining the farmer's profit.
Those who fear, that exportation may so far drain the country of corn, as to starve ourselves, fear what never did, nor never can happen. They may as well, when they view the tide ebbing towards the sea, fear that all the water will leave the river. The price of The more corn, like water will find its own level. we export the dearer it becomes at home: the more is received abroad, the cheaper it becomes there, and as soon as these prices are equal, the exportation stops of course. As the seasons vary in different countries, the calamity of a bad harvest is never universal, if then, all ports were always open, and all commerce free, every maritime country would generally eat bread at the medium price, or average of all the harvests; which would probably be more equal than we can make it by our artificial regulations, and
therefore a more steady encouragement to agriculture. The nation would all have bread at this middle price; and that nation, which at any time inhumanly refuses to relieve the distresses of another nation, deserves no comparison when in distress itself.
Of the Effect of Dearness of Provisions upon
The common people do not work for pleasure gen. erally, but from necessity. Cheapness of provisions make them more idle; less work is then done, it is then more in demand proportionally, and of course the price rises. Dearness of provisions obliges the manufacturer to work more days and more hours; thus more work is done than equals the usual demand; of course it becomes cheaper, and the manufactures in consequence.
Of an Open Trade.
Perhaps in general, it would be better if government meddled no further with trade, than to protect it, and let it take its course. Most of the statutes or acts, edicts, arrets, and placarts of parliaments, princes and states, for regulating, directing, or restraining of trade, have we think, been either political blunders, or jobs obtained by artful men for private advantages uuder pretence of public good. When Colbert assembled some of the wise old merchants of France, and desired their advice and opinion how he could best serve and promote commerce; their answer, after consultation, was in three words only.Laissez nous faire; "Let us alone."-It is said by a very solid writer of the same nation, that he is well advanced in the science politics, who knows the full force of that maxim, Pus trop Gouverner, "not to govern too much;" which, perhaps, would be of more use when applied to trade, than in any other public concern. It were therefore to be wished, that
commerce were as free between all the nations of the world as it is between the several counties of England: