Report on Manufactures

Dec 5, 1791

The expediency of encouraging manufactures in the United States, which was not long since deemed very questionable, appears at this time to be pretty generally admitted. The embarrassments, which have obstructed the progress of our external trade, have led to serious reflections on the necessity of enlarging the sphere of our domestic commerce. . . .

There still are, nevertheless, respectable patrons of opinions, unfriendly to the encouragement of manufactures. . . .

It ought readily to be conceded that the cultivation of the earth-as the primary and most certain source of national supply-as the immediate and chief source of subsistence to man-as the principal source of those materials which constitute the nutriment of other kinds of labor-as including a state most favourable to the freedom and independence of the human mind-one, perhaps, most conducive to the multiplication of the human species-has intrinsically a strong claim to pre-eminence over every other kinds of industry.

But, that it has a title to any thing like an exclusive predilection, in any country, ought to be admitted with great caution. That it is even more productive than every other branch of Industry requires more evidence than has yet been given in support of the position. That its real interests, precious and important as without the help of exaggeration, they truly are, will be advanced, rather than injured by the due encouragement of manufactures, may, it is believed, be satisfactorily demonstrated. And it is also believed that the expediency of such encouragement in a general view may be shown to be recommended by the most cogent and persuasive motives of national policy. . . .

It is now proper to proceed a step further, and to enumerate the principal circumstances, from which it may be inferred-that manufacturing establishments not only occasion a possitive augmentation of the Produce and Revenue of Society, but that they contribute essentially to rendering them greater than they could possible be, without such establishments. . . .

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. . . .

[T]he 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. . . .

II. AS TO AN EXTENSION OF THE USE OF MACHINERY, A POINT WHICH, THOUGH PARTLY ANTICIPATED REQUIRES TO BE PLACE 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 or man; and, to all the purposes of labour, is an increase of hands; an accession of strength, unencumbered too by the expense of maintaining the laborer. ...

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 this 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 ORIGINALLLY ENGAGED IN THE PARTICULAR BUSINESS.

. . . . 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 neighboring manufactories.

Besides this advantage of occasional employment to classes having different occupation, 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 burthen on the community) either from the bias of temper, habit, infirmity of body, or some other cause, indisposing or disqualifying them for 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 establishment, 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 very tender age. . . .

There seems to be a moral certainty, that the trade of a country which is both manufacturing and Agricultural will be more lucrative and prosperous than of a Country, which is merely Agricultural. . . .

Not only the wealth, but the independence and security of a Country, appear to be materially connected with the prosperity of manufactures. Every nation, with a view to those great objects, ought to endeavour to possess within itself all the essentials of national supply. These comprise the means of Subsistence, habitation, clothing, and defence.

The possession of these is necessary to the perfection of the body politic; to the safety as well as to the welfare of the society; the want of either is the want of an important Organ of political life and Motion; and in the various crises which await a state. The extreme embarrassments of the United States during the late War, from an incapacity of supplying themselves, are still matter of keen recollection. A future war might be expected again to exemplify the mischiefs, and dangers of a situation to which that incapacity is still in too great a degree applicable, unless changed by timely and vigorous exertion. . . .

In countries where there is great private wealth, much may be effected by the voluntary contributions of patriotic individuals; but in a community situated like that of the United States, the public purse must supply the deficiency of private resource. In what can it be so useful, as in prompting and improving the efforts of industry?

Source: 
المصدر: هارولد. سي سيريت إت إل (Harold C. Syrett et al)، أوراق الكسندر هاملتون، المجلد 10 (نيويورك، 1965) 240-230.