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and becomes still more so by the accession of strangers, hence there is a continual demand for more artisans of all the necessary and useful kinds, to supply those cultivators of the earth with houses, and with furniture and utensils of the grosser sorts, which cannot so well be brought from Europe. Tolerably good workmen in any of those mechanic arts are sure to find employ, 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 are poor, they begin first as servants or journeymen; and if they are sober, industrious, and frugal, they soon become masters, establish themselves in husiness, marry, raise families, and become respectable citizens.
Also, persons of moderate fortunes and capitals, who, having a number of children to provide for, are desirous of bringing them up to industry, and to secure estates for 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, acquire respect by such abilities. There 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 of 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 wbich 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 tommodities and manufactures within their own dominions, so as to dininish or render useless their importations, have endeavoured 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-mentioned, have proposed to go over on condition of having their passages paid, lands given, salaries appointed, exclusive privileges for terms 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, 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, 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 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 to 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 governments in America do nothing to encourage such projects. The people by this maans 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 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 frieght 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, move 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 inhabi tants 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 reat 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 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 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 favour the whole country.
HUMOUROUS ACCOUNT OF A CUSTOM AMONG THE AMER
ICANS, ENTITLED WHITE-WASHING, ATTRIBUTED TO
THE PEN OF DR. FRANKLIN.
ALTHOUGH the following article has not yet appeared in any collection of the works of this great philosopher, we are inclined to receive the general opinion (from the plainness of the style, and humour which characterize it,) to be the performance of Dr. Franklin.
My wish is to give you some account of the people of these new States, but I am far from being qualified for the purpose, having as yet seen little more than the cities of New York and Philadelphia. I have discovered but few national singularities among them. Their customs and manners are nearly the same with those of England, which they have long been used to copy. For, previous to the Revolution, the Americans were from their infancy taught to look up to the English as patterns of perfection in all things. I have observed, however, one custom, which, for aught I know, is peculiar to this country; an account of it will serve to fill up the remainder of this sheet, and may afford you some amusement.
When a young couple are about to enter into the matrimonial state, a never failing article in the marriage treaty is, that the lady shall have and enjoy the free and uvmolested exercise of the rights of whitewashing, with all its ceremonials, privileges, and appurtenances. A young woman would forego the most advantageous connexion, and even disappoint the warmest wishes of her heart, rather than resign the invaluable right. You will wonder what this privilege of white-washing is: I will endeavour to give you some idea of the ceremony, as I have seen it performed.
There is no season of the year in which the lady may not claim her privilege, if she pleases; but the latter end of May is most generally fixed upon for the purpose. The attentive husband may judge by certain prognostics when the storm is nigh at hand. When the lady is unusually fretful, finds fault with the servants, is discontented with the children, and complains much of the filthiness of every thing about her—these are signs which ought not to be neglected ; yet they are not decisive, as they sometimes come on and go off again without producing any farther effect. But if, when the husband rises in the morning, he should obé