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All under sixteen are accounted children, and all above, men and women. Any other particulars, which the government desires information of, are occasionally marked on the same boards. Thus the officers, appointed to collect the accounts in each district, have only to pass before the doors, and enter into their book what they find marked on the board, without giving the least trouble to the family. There is a penalty on marking falsely; and as neighbours must know nearly the truth of each other's account, they dare not expose themselves, by a false one, to each other's accusation. Perhaps such a regulation is scarcely practicable with us.
POSITIONS TO BE EXAMINED CONCERNING NATIONAL WEALTH.
1. All food or subsistence for mankind arise from the earth or waters.
2. Necessaries of life, that are not foods, and all other conveniences, have their values estimated by the proportion of food consumed while we are employed in procuring them.
3. A small people, with a large territory, may subsist on the productions of nature, with no other labour than that of gathering the vegetables and catching the animals.
4. A large people, with a small territory, finds these insufficient, and, to subsist, must labour the earth, to make it produce greater quantities of vegetable food, suitable for the nourishment of men, and of the animals they intend to eat.
5. From this labour arises a great increase of vegetable and animal food, and of materials for clothing, as flax, wooUsilk, &c. The superfluity of these is wealth. With this wealth we pay for thelabour employed in building our houses, cities, &c. which are therefore only subsistence thus metamorphosed.
6. Manufactures are only another shape into which so much provisions and subsistence are turned, as were equal in value to the manufactures produced. This appears from hence, that the manufacturer does not, in fact, obtain from the employer, for his labour, more than a mere subsistence, inr elnding raiment, fuel, and shelter; all which derive their value from the provisions consumed in procuring them. ,
7. The produce of the earth thus converted into manufactures, may be more easily carried to distant markets than before such conversion.
8. Fair commerce is, where equal values are exchanged for equal, the expense of transport inclnded. Thus, if it costs A in England as much labour and charge to raise a bushel of wheat, as it costs B in France to produce four gallons of wine, then are four gallons of wine the fair exchange for a bushel of wheat—A and B meeting at half distance with their commodities, to make the exchange. The advantage of this fair commerce is, that each party increases the number of his enjoyments, having, instead of wheat alone, or wine alone, the use of both wheat and wine.
9. Where the labour and expense of producing both commodities are known to both parties, bargains will generally be fair and equal: where they are known to one party only, bargains will often be unequal, knowledge taking its advantage of ignorance.
10. Thus he that carries one thousand bushels of wheat abroad to sell, may not probably obtain so great a profit thereon, as if he had first turned the wheat into manufactures, by subsisting therewith the workmen while producing those manufactures: since there are many expediting and facilitating methods of working, not generally known; and strangers to the manufactures, though they know pretty well the expense of raising wheat, are unacquainted with those short methods of working, and thence, being apt to suppose more labour employed in the manufactures than there really is, are more easily imposed on in their value, and induced to allow more for them than they are honestly worth.
11. Thus the advantage of having manufactures in a country does not consist, as is commonly supposed, in their highly advancing the value of rough
, materials, of which they are formed; since, though six-pennyworth of flax may be worth twenty shillings when worked into lace, yet the very canse of its being worth twenty shillings, is that, besides the flax, it has cost nineteen shillings and sixpence in subsistence to the manufacturer. But the advantage of manufactures is, that under their shape provisions may be more easily carried to a foreign market, and by their means our traders may more easily cheat strangers. Few, where it is not made, are jndges of the value of lace. The importer may demand forty, and perhaps get thirty shillings for that which cost him but twenty.
12. Finally, there seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbours: this is robbery. The second by commeree, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle wrought by the hand of God in his favour, as a reward for his innocent life, and his virtuous industry.
B. Franklin. April 1, 1760.
ON THE PRICE OF CORN, AND MANAGE-
To Messieurs the Public.
I Am one of that class of people that feeds you all, and at present is abused by you all; in short, I aiu a/armer.
By your newspapers we are told that God had sent a very short harvest to some other countries of Europe. I thought this might be in favour of Old England; and that now we should get a good price for our grain, which would bring millions among us, and make us flow in money: that to be sure is scarce enough.
But the wisdom of government forbad the exportation.
Well, says I, then we must be content with the market-price at home.
No, say my lords the mob, you sha'u't have that: bring your corn to market if you dare; we'll sell it for you, for less money, or take it for nothing.
Being thus attacked by both ends of the constitution—the head and tail of government, what am I to do?
Must I keep my corn in the barn, to feed and increase the breed of rats? be it so; they cannot be less thankful than those I have been used to feed.
Are we farmers the only people to be grndged the profits of our honest labour? And why? One of the late scribblers against us gives a bill of fare of the provisions at my danghter's wedding, and proclaims to all the world, that we had the insolence to eat beef and pndding! Has he not read the precept in the good book, "Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn;" or does he think us less worthy of good living than our oxen?
O, but the manufacturers! the manufacturers! they are to be favoured, and they must have bread at a cheap rate!
Hark ye, Mr. Oaf:—The farmers live splendidly, you say. And pray, would you have them hoard the money they get? Their fine clothes and furniture, do they make them themselves, or for one another, and so keep the money among them? Or do they employ these your darling manufacturers, and so scatter it again all over the nation?
The wool would produce me a better price, if it were suffered to go to foreign markets; but that, Messienrs the Public, your laws will not permit. It must be kept all at home, that our dear manufacturers may have it the cheaper; and then, having yourselves thus lessened our encouragement for raising sheep, you curse us for the scarcity of mutton!
I have heard my grandfather say that the farmers submitted to the prohibition on the exportation of