University of Virginia Library

Search this document 
The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

expand sectionA. 
expand sectionB. 
expand sectionC. 
expand sectionD. 
expand sectionE. 
expand sectionF. 
expand sectionG. 
expand sectionH. 
expand sectionI. 
expand sectionJ. 
expand sectionK. 
expand sectionL. 
collapse sectionM. 
5034. MANUFACTURES, Jefferson's views in 1782.—
expand sectionN. 
expand sectionO. 
expand sectionP. 
expand sectionQ. 
expand sectionR. 
expand sectionS. 
expand sectionT. 
expand sectionU. 
expand sectionV. 
expand sectionW. 
expand sectionX. 
expand sectionY. 
expand sectionZ. 

expand section 
expand section 

5034. MANUFACTURES, Jefferson's views in 1782.—

The political economists of
Europe have established it as a principle, that
every State should endeavor to manufacture
for itself; and this principle, like many others,
we transfer to America, without calculating
the difference of circumstance which should
often produce a difference of result. In Europe,
the lands are either cultivated, or locked
up against the cultivator. Manufacture must,
therefore, be resorted to of necessity, not of
choice, to support the surplus of their people.
But we have an immensity of land courting
the industry of the husbandman. Is it best
then that all our citizens should be employed
in its improvement, or that one half of them
should be called off from that to exercise
manufactures and handicrafts for the other?
Those who labor in the earth are the chosen
people of God, if ever He had a chosen people,
whose breasts He has made His peculiar
deposit for substantial and genuine virtue.
It is the focus in which He keeps alive that
sacred fire, which otherwise might escape
from the face of the earth. Corruption of
morals in the mass of cultivators is a phenomenon
of which no age nor nation has furnished
an example. It is the mark set on
those, who, not looking up to heaven, to
their own soil and industry, as does the husbandman,
for their subsistence, depend for
it on casualities and caprice of customers. Dependence
begets subservience and venality,
suffocates the germ of virtue, and prepares
fit tools for the designs of ambition. This,
the natural progress and consequence of the
arts, has sometimes perhaps been retarded by
accidental circumstances; but, generally
speaking, the proportion which the aggregate
of the other classes of citizens bears in any
State to that of its husbandmen, is the proportion
of its unsound to its healthy parts,
and is a good barometer whereby to measure
its degree of corruption. While we have land
to labor, then, let us never wish to see our
citizens occupied at a work bench, or twirling
a distaff. Carpenters, masons, smiths,
are wanting in husbandry; but, for the general
operations of manufacture, let our workshops
remain in Europe. It is better to carry
provisions and materials to workmen there,
than bring them to the provisions and materials,
and with them their manners and
principles. The loss by the transportation of
commodities across the Atlantic will be made
up in happiness and permanence of government.
The mobs of great cities add just so
much to the support of pure government, as
sores do to the strength of the human body.
It is the manners and spirit of a people which
preserve a republic in vigor. A degeneracy
in these is a canker which soon eats to the
heart of its laws and constitution.—
Notes on Virginia. Washington ed. viii, 405. Ford ed., iii, 268.