Imágenes de página

which is equally applicable to husbandmen or cultivators. It may be alike affirmed of all these classes, that the fund acquired by their labour, and destined for their support, is not, in an ordinary way, more than equal to it. And hence it will follow, that augmentations of the wealth or capital of the community (except in the instances of some extraordinary dexterity of skill) can only proceed, with respect to any of them, froin the savings of the more thrifty and parsimonious.

Š. “ That the annual produce of the land and labour of a country can only be increased, in two ways, by some improvement in the productive powers of the useful labour, which actually exists within it, or by some increase in the quantity of such labour; that with regard to the first, the labour of artificers being capable of greater subdivision and simplicity of operation, than that of cultivators, it is susceptible, in a proportionably greater degree, of improvement in its productive powers, whether to be derived from an accession of skill, or from the application of ingenious machinery; in which particular, therefore, the labour employed in the culture of land can pretend to no advantage over that engaged in manufactures : that with regard to an augmentation of the quantity of useful labour, this, excluding adventitious circumstances, must depend essentially upon an increase of capital, which again must depend upon the savings made out of the revenues of those, who furnish or manage that, which is at any time employed, whether in agriculture, or in manufactures, or in any other way.""

It is now proper to enumerate the principal circumstances, from which it may be inferred--that manufacturing establishments not only occasion a positive augmentation of the produce and revenue of the society, but that they contribute essentially to rendering them greater than they could possibly be, without such establishments. I'hese circumstances are,

1. The division of labour.
2. An extension of the use of machinery.

3. Additional employment to classes of the community, not ordinarily engaged in the business.

4. The promoting of emigration from foreign countries.

5. The furnishing greater scope for the diversity of talents and dispositions which discriminate men from each other.

6. The affording a more ample and various field for enterprise.

7. The creating, in some instances, a new, and securing, in all, a more certain and steady demand for the surplus produce of the soil.

Each of these circumstances has a considerable influence upon the total mass of industrious effort in a community: together, they add to it a degree of energy and effect, which are not easily conceived. Some comments upon each of them, in the order in which they have been stated, may serve to explain their importance.

I. As to the division of labour.

It has justly been observed, that there is scarcely any thing of greater moment in the economy of a nation, than the proper division of labour. The separation of occupations causes each to be carried to a much greater perfection than it could possibly acquire, if they were blended. This arises principally from three circumstances.

1st. The greater skill and dexterity naturally resulting from a constant and undivided application to a single object. It is evident, that these properties must increase, in proportion to the separation and simplification of objects and the steadiness of the attention devoted to each ; and must be less, in proportion to the complication of objects, and the number among which the attention is distracted.

2d. The economy of time, by avoiding the loss of it, incident to a frequent transition from one operation to another of a different nature. This depends on various circumstances; the transition itselfthe orderly disposition of the implements, machines, and materials employed in the operation to be relinquished—the preparatory steps to the commencement of a new one—the interruption of the impulse, which the mind of the workman acquires, from being engaged in a particular operation-the distractions, hesitations and reluctances, which attend the passage from one kind of business to another.

3d. An extension of the use of machinery. A man occupied on a single object, will have it more in his power, and will be more naturally led to exert his imagination in devising methods to facilitate and abridge labour, then if he were perplexed by a variety of independent and dissimilar operations. Besides this, the fabrication of machines, in numerous instances, becoming itself a distinct trade, the artist, who follows it, has all the advantages which have been enumerated, for improvement in this particular art: and in both ways the invention and application of machinery are extended.

And from these causes united, the mere separation of the occupation of the cultivator, from that of the artificer, has the effect of augmenting the productive powers of labour, and with them, the total mass of the produce or revenue of a country. In this view of the subject, therefore, the utility of artificers or manufacturers, towards promoting an increase of productive industry, is apparent.

II. As to an extension of the use of machinery, a point which, though partly anticipated, requires to be placed in one or two additional lights.

The employment of machinery forms an item of great importance in the general mass of national industry. Tis an artificial force brought in aid of the natural force of man; and, to all the purposes of labour, is an increase of hands; an accession of strength, unincumbered too by the expense of maintaining the labourer. May it not therefore be fairly inferred, that those occupations which give greatest scope to the use of this auxiliary, contribute most to the general stock of industrious effort, and, in consequence, to the general product of industry?,

It shall be taken for granted, and the truth of the position referred to observation, that manufacturing pursuits are susceptible in a greater degree of the application of machinery, than those of agriculture. If so, all the difference is lost to a community, which, instead of manufacturing for itself, procures the fabrics requisite to its supply from other countries. The substitution of foreign for domestic manufactures is a transfer to foreign nations of the advantages accruing from the employment of machinery in the modes in which it is capable of being employed, with most utility and to the greatest extent.

The cotton-mill invented in England, within the last twenty years, is a signal illustration of the general proposition, which has been just

advanced. In consequence of it, all the different processes for spinning cotton are performed by means of machines, which are put in motion by water, and attended chiefly by women and children, and by a smaller number of persons, in the whole, than are requisite in the ordinary mode of spinning. And it is an advantage of great moment, that the operations of the mill continue with convenience, during the night, as well as through the day. The prodigious effect of such a machine is easily conceived. To this invention is to be attributed essentially the immense progress, which has been so suddenly made in Great Britain, in the various fabrics of cotton.

III. As to the additional employment of classes of the community, not originally engaged in the particular business.

This is not among the least valuable of the means by which manufacturing institutions contribute to augment the general stock of industry and production. In places where those institutions prevail, besides the persons regularly engaged in them, they afford occasional and extra employmeut to industrious individuals and families, who are willing to devote the leisure resulting from the intermissions of their ordinary pursuits to collateral labours, as a resource for multiplying their acquisitions or their enjoyments. The husbandman himself experiences a new source of profit and support from the increased industry of his wife and daughters; invited and stimulated by the demands of the neighbouring manufactories.

Besides this advantage of occasional employment to classes having different occupations, there is another of a nature allied to it, and of a similar tendency. This is, the employment of persons who would otherwise be idle (and, in many cases, a burden on the community) either from the bias of temper, habit, infirmity of body, or some other cause, indisposing or disqualifying them for the toils of the country. It is worthy of particular remark, that, in general, women and children are rendered more useful, and the latter more early useful, by manufacturing establishments, than they would otherwise be. Of the number of persons employed in the cotton manufactories of Great Britain, it is computed that four-sevenths nearly are women and children; of whom the greatest proportion are children, and many of them of a tender age.

And thus it appears to be one of the attributes of manufactures, and one of no small" consequence, to give occasion to the exertion of a greater quantity of industry, even by the same number of persons, where they happen to prevail, than would exist, if there were no such establishments.

IV. As to the promoting of emigration from foreign countries.

Men reluctantly quit one course of occupation and livelihood for another, unless invited to it by very apparent and proximate advantages. Many, who would go from one country to another, if they had a prospect of continuing, with more benefit, the callings to which they have been educated, will often be tempted to change their situation by the hope of doing better in some other way. Manufacturers, who (listening to the powerful invitation of a better price for their fabrics, or for their labour, of greater cheapness of provisions and raw materials, of an exemption from the chief part of the taxes, burdens and restraints, which they endure in the old world, of greater personal independence and consequence, under the operation of a more equal government, and of what is far more precious than mere religious toleration, a perfect equality of religious privileges) would probably flock from Europe to the United States to pursue their own trades or professions, if they were once made sensible of the advantages they would enjoy, and were inspired with an assurance of encouragement and employment, will, with difficulty, be induced to transplant themselves, with a view of becoming cultivators of land.

If it be true, then, that it is the interest of the United States to open every possible avenue to emigration from abroad, it affords a weighty argument for the encouragement of manufactures; which, for the reason just assigned, will have the strongest tendency to multiply the inducements to it.

Here is perceived an important resource, not only for extending the population, and with it the useful and productive labour of the country, but likewise for the prosecution of manufactures, without deducting from the number of hands which might otherwise be drawn to tillage; and even for the indemnification of agriculture for such as might happen to be diverted from it. Many, whom manufacturing views would induce to emigrate, would afterwards yield to the temptations, which the particular situation of this country holds out to agricultural pursuits. And while agriculture would in other respects derive many signal and unmingled advantages, from the growth of manufactures, it is a problem, whether it would gain or lose, as to the article of the number of persons employed in carrying it on.

V. As to the furnishing greater scope for the diversity of talents and dispositions, which discriminate men from each other.

This is a much more powerful mean of augmenting the fund of national industry than may at first sight appear. It is a just observation, that minds, of the strongest and most active powers for their proper objects, fall below mediocrity, and labour without effect, if contined to uncongenial pursuits. And it is thence to be inferred, that the result of human exertion may be immensely increased by diversifying its objects. When all the different kinds of industry obtain in a community, each individual can find his proper element, and call into activity the whole vigour of his nature. And the community is benefited by the services of its respective members, in the manner, in which each can serve it with most effect.

If there be any thing in a remark often to be met with, namely, that there is, in the genius of the people of this country, a peculiar aptitude for mechanic improvements, it would operate as a forcible reason for giving opportunities to the exercise of that species of talent, by the propagation of manufactures.

VI. As to the affording a more ample and various field forenterprise.

This also is of greater consequence in the general scale of national exertion, than might perhaps on a superficial view be supposed, and has effects not altogether dissimilar from those of the circumstance last noticed. To cherish and stimulate the activity of the human mind by multiplying the objects of enterprise, is not among

the least considerable of the expedients, by which the wealth of a nation may be promoted. Even things, in themselves not positively advantageous, sometimes become so, by their tendency to provoke exertion. Every new scene which is opened to the busy nature of man, to rouse and exert itself, is the addition of a new energy to the general stock of effort.

The spirit of enterprise, useful and prolific as it is, must necessarily le contracted or expanded in proportion to the simplicity or variety of the occupations and productions which are to be found in a society. It must be less in a nation of mere cultivators, than in a nation of cultivators and merchants; less in a nation of cultivators and merchants, than in a nation of cultivators, artificers, and merchants.

VII. As to the creating, in some instances, a new, and securing in all a more certain and steady demand for the surplus produce of the soil.

This is among the most important of the circumstances which have been indicated. It is a principal mean, by which the establishment of manufactures contributes to an augmentation of the produce or revenue of a country, and has an immcdiate and direct relation to the prosperity of agriculture.

It is evident, that the exertions of the husbandman will be steady or fluctuating, vigorous or feeble, in proportion to the steadiness or fluctuation, adequateness, or inadequateness of the markets on which he must depend, for the vent of the surplus, which may be produced by his labour; and that such surplus, in the ordinary course of things, will be greater or less in the same proportion.

For the purpose of this vent, a domestic market is greatly to be preferred to a foreign one; because it is, in the nature of things, far more to be relied upon.

It is a primary object of the policy of the nations, to be able to supply themselves with subsistence from their own soils; and manufacturing nations, as far as circumstances permit, endeavour to procure from the same source, the raw materials necessary for their own fabrics. This disposition, urged by the spirit of monopoly, is sometimes even carried to an injudicious extreme. It seems not always to be recollected, that nations which have neither mines nor manufactures, can only obtain the manufactured articles of which they stand in need, by an exchange of the products of their soils; and that, if those who can best furnish them with such articles, are unwilling to give a due course to this exchange, they must of necessity make every possible effort to manufacture for themselves;. the effect of which is

, that the manufacturing nations abridge the natural advantages of their situation, through an unwillingness to permit the agricultural countries to enjoy the advantages of theirs, and sacrifice the interest of a mutually beneficial intercourse to the vain project of selling every thing and buying nothing,

But it is also a consequence of the policy, which has been noted, that the foreign demand for the products of agricultural countries, is in a great degree rather casual and occasional, than certain or constant. To what extent injurious interruptions of the demand for some of the staple commodities of the United States, may have been experienced, from that cause, must be referred to the judgment of those who are engaged in carrying on the commerce of the country : but it may be safely affirmed, that such interruptions are at times ve. ry inconveniently felt, and that cases not unfrequently occur, in which


« AnteriorContinuar »