Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

fused, 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 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 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 governments in America do nothing to encourage such projects. The people, by this means, are not iinposed on either by the merchant or mechanic: if the merchant demands too much profit on imported shoes, they buy of the shoe-maker; 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 som nearly equal to all the expences of freight and commission, risque or insurance, &c. necessarily charged by the merchant. And the case is the same with the workmen in every other mechanic

art.

1

art. Hence it is, that artisans geperally 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 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 liveli, hood. 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 inha. bitants 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, haying in view the formation of a future useful citizen, obliges the master to engage by a written indentare, not only that,

during 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 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.

2 D 4

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; in

fidelity fidelity 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.

TO THE EARL OF BUCHAN*.

Concerning new Settlements in America.

Passy, March 17, 1783. MY LORD, I RECEIVED the letter your lordship did me the honour of writing to me the 18th past, and am much obliged by your kind congratulations on the return of peace, which I hope will be lasting.

With regard to the terms on which lands may be acquired in America, and the manner of beginning new settlements on them, I cannot give better information than may be found in a book lately printed at London, under some such title as- Letters from a Pensylvanian Farmer, by Hector St. John. The only encouragement we hold out to strangers are, a good climate, fertile soil, wholesome air and water, plenty of provisions and food, good pay for labour, kind neighbours, good laws, and a hearty welcome. The rest depends on a man's own in

* From the Gentleman's Magazine, for July, 1794, to which it was communicated by the nobleman to whom it is addressed. Editor.

dustry dustry and virtue. Lands are cheap, but they must be bought. All settlements are undertaken at private expence; the public coạtributes nothing but defence and justice, I have long observed of your people, that their sobriety, frugality, industry and honesty, seldom fail of success in America, and of procuring them & good establishment among us.

I do not recollect the circumstance you are pleased to mention, of my having saved a citizen at St. Andrew's by giving a turn to his disorder; and I am curious to know, what the disorder was, and what the advice I gave, that proved

that proved so salutary*,' With great regard I have the honour to be, my lord, your lordship’s most obedient and most humble servant,

B. FRANKLIN.

A Comparison of the Conduct of the Ancient Jews, and of the

Antifederalists in the United States of Americat.

A ZEALOUS advocate for the proposed federal constitution in a certain public assembly said, that “ the repugnance of a great part of mankind to good government was such, that he believed, that if an angel from heaven was to bring down a constitution, formed there for our use, it would nevertheless meet with violent opposition.” He was reproved for the supposed extravagance of the sentiment, and he did not justify

* It was a fever, in which the Earl of Buchan, theu lord Cadross, la sick at St. Andrew's; and the advice was, not to blister, according to the old practice and the opinion of the learned Dr. Simson, brother of the celebrated geometrician at Glasgow. B. | Froin the Repository, vol. II, p. 313. Editor.

« ZurückWeiter »