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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 : labour being generally too dear there, and hands difficult to be kept together, every one desiring to be a master, and the cheapness of land inclining many to leave trade 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 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 a folly to think of forcing nature. Great establishments of manufacture require greater numbers of poor to do the work for small wages : those poor are 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 enabled to tax the home consumer 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 government of America do nothing to encourage such 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 shoemaker, however, has, on the whole a considerable profit upon his lahour 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, risque or insurance, &c. necessarily charged by the merchant. And it is the same with every other mechanic art. Hence it is that 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, remove with advantage to America.
In the old long-settled countries of Europe, all arts, trades, professions, farms, &c. are 30 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. Here 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 means, on their arrival in the country, raised money enough to buy land sufficient to establish themselves, and to subsist the rest of their 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 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 passages 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 imme. diate value of their services; 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; infidelity rare and secret; so that persons may live to a great age in that country without having their piety shocked by meeting with 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 favour the whole country.
FINAL SPEECH OF DR. FRANKLIN IN THE
LATE FEDERAL CONVENTION.*
MR. PRESIDENT, I confess that I do not entirely approve of this constitution at present: but, Sir, I am not sure I
Our reasons for ascribing this speech to Dr. Franklin, are its internal evidence, and its having appeared with his name, during his life-time, uncontradicted, in an American periodical publication.
shall never approve it; for having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or further consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise. It is, therefore, that the older I grow, the more apt am I to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others. Most men, indeed, as well as most sects of religion, think themselves in possession of all truth, and that whenever others differ from them, it is so far error. Steel, a protestant, in a dedication, tells the Pope, that the only difference between our two churches, in their opinions of the certainty of their doctrines, is, the Roman church is infallible, and the church of England never in the wrong.” But, though many private persons think almost as highly of their own infallibility as of that of their own sect, few express it so naturally as a certain French lady, who, in a little dispute with her sister, said, I dont know how it happens, sister, but I meet with nobody but myself that is always in the right. Il n'ny a que moi qui a toujours raison. In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this constitution, with all its faults, if they are such ; because I think a general government necessary
us, and there is no form of government, but what may a blessing, if well administered, and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other. I doubt too, whether any other convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better constitution. For when you assemble a number of men, to have the advantage of their joint wisdom, you assemble with those men, all their prejudices, their passions, their errors of opinion, their local interests, and their selfish views. From such an assembly can a perfect production be expected ? It there