Imágenes de páginas


State of manufactures-Reasons why they don't

mercial system pursued by the government-Collection of models of
machines-Curious anecdote of an English traveller respecting it-
Flying shuttle-Stocking frame-Coals and coal mines ---Manufac-
tures of iron touls, &c. imperfect in France France never can expect
to be a nation to manufacture for othersIts loss in commerce by
the revolt of St. Domingo-Honours paid to blacks, galley slaves,
and the relations of criminals.


&c. &c. &c.


THE state of manufactures in France is far from being such as has been generally given out to the world. The laws respecting exports and imports are such, indeed, as to compel the French to supply themselves with most articles; but compulsion does not always lead to excellence or to advantage.

Government is so much afraid of raw materials being wanting, that the exportation of mostly all of them is prohibited, or loaded with such duties, as to amount nearly to a prohibition. And, as an equal fear is entertained of foreign competition for manufactured goods, they are all loaded with enormous duties likewise*.

This is an anticommercial system, that is very

* The great wealth gained in England by manufactures, has not only rendered all other nations jealous of her, but what is highly ab

far from advantageous. Holland and England always acted on a different plan, and, as they did so and succeeded, it is reasonable to suppose that their modes of proceeding have been, and are, good ones. In addition to the injury that French manufactures receive from prohibitory laws, the use of machinery is not brought to much perfection. We shall see · in the Appendix, that there is a most admirable collection of machines not newly made, but that have

surd, they think they may all become wealthy by the same means, and their first step is universally to try to exclude British manufactures.

Those efforts may injure Britain so far as she depends on the continental markets for the sale of her manufactures; but the continental nations will be injured also, instead of being enriched; for if they were all to succeed to the utmost extent, it would finish, by each country supplying itself; but as soine nations can apply their industry with most advantage to one object, and some to another, the best way for general ease and wealth is, for each to apply to the objects that are most advantageous, that is, in which it can produce the most, and then make exchanges by barter, or by sale and purchase.

By the table given in a note in the Preface, it appears, that the balance of trade with the continent of Europe, would be against Britain, were it not for colonial produce; it is therefore without the shadow of reason, that the continental nations are jealous of the manufactures of Britain.

long been in existence, to which new inventions are added as soon as produced; but though the public is admitted, and the lowest workmen may inspect the machines at leisure, it produces very little good. We speak from good authority, that of M. Vandermond, who was intrusted with the care and management, before it was removed from the Fauxbourg St. Antoine to the rue St. Martin, where it now is. He gave as an instance, that there had been for more than thirty years previous to the time in which he spoke, (which was 1788), a model of a loom for weaving, where the shuttle is returned*, and all the movements made by machinery, without the necessity of a man working it with his hands and feet.

The French possessed then this admirable invention as early as the year 1760, but no use was made of it, till an Englishman (we believe Mr. Wilkinson), inspecting the collection, accompanied by Mr. Vandermond, declared at once, that he would have

in practice on his return to England; and he kept his word.

The pleasure of seeing the beautiful models of all sorts of machinery, tools, agricultural implements,

• Called now the flying shuttle.

it put

&c. is sadly damped when the miserable tools and machinery employed in the actual business of life are inspected.

In this respect, France is diametrically opposite to England. Here we have not so grand and valuable a collection of models for public use, (which it would be well if we had), but the tools, machinery, and implements, employed in real business, are mostly of the best description. Improvement is general, and the labour of man is in almost every art so abreviated, that the proportion between the number of inhabitants and the produce of their labour is very different from what it is in any other country. This vastly increased produce is not so much owing to superior industry and exertion, as to abreviation of labour and better tools.

A French tailor, shoe-maker, or a workman in any branch where the methods of working are the same, and neither tools nor machinery are important, will produce as much work as men of the same trades in England. Joiners or carpenters will not do half so much; and if we speak of great works depending on machinery, there is no making a comparison.

The great foundation of manufacturing industry is the production of iron in a cheap and good state;

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