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“ forms all the operations himself, must obyiously, "manufacture more pins in an hour, than would be “firmed in a month, even in a year, by any number “of men amongst whom the labour could be divided, “ if unaided by the circumstance of part of their la “bour being supplanted and performed by capital.' “ The progress made of late years in Scotland, in " the art of distilling spirits, affords a strong illus“tration and example of the vast resources of hu“man ingenuity in abridging labour by mechanical “ contrivances." ..
“In the year 1785, a proposal was made to collect "the duty on the manufacture of spirits in Scotland “ by way of licence, to be paid annually for every “still, according to its size, at a fixed rate per gal“ lon, in lieu of all other duties.”
- The London distillers, men the most experienced “in their profession, who agreed to the rate of the s licence on the gallon, supposed to be equivalent to “the former duties, declared themselves, from expe“rience, satisfied, that the time of working stills with “ benefit was limited to an extent perfectly well “known; and that whoever exceeded these limits ,“ would infallibly lose upon his materials and the “ quality of the goods what he gained in point of “time; and in conformity to their opinion, the duty “was in the year 1786 settled, upon the supposition 5 that stills could be discharged about seven times in "a week.”
“ Two years after this, in a memorial presented to "the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, the same “men alleged, that the Scotch distillers had, by the
“ ingenuity of their contrivances, found means to “ discharge their stills upirards of forty times a “ week ; and we since know, from a report made to " the Lords Commissioners of the Treasury, in the “year 1799, that a forty three gallon still was “ brought to such a degree of perfection, as to be “ discharged at 'the rate of once in two minutes and “ three quarters; which is almost twenty-two times “in an hour. It appears also from this report, that “ the operation of distillation was capable of being "performed in a still shorter time, and that the quali“ty of the spirit was no wise injured by the rapidity " of the operation." ♡
From this fact Lord Lauderdale concludes that it · is the introduction of some sort of machinery, to
the effect of the application of chemistry to manufactures, and to the increase or command of capital enabling the manufacturers to reduce the price of manufactured commodities, that we are indebied for the wealth and comforts generally enjoyed by civilized society.
"In the annals,” adds the noble author, “ of the "transactions and negociations that have taken place “ between different nations on the subject of com"mercial arrangements, the danger of admitting a “country to a commercial competition, because the "division of labour was there carried farther than in “any other, is a thing unheard of; whilst the con• “stant and uniform ground of objection, urged by “men whose prejudices led them to think that coni"merce may be conducted in a manner injurious to " a nation, is the superiority that the one country was
" over the other, derived from dexterity in supplant"ing and performing labour by capital.”
>" Adam Smith has vainly laboured to impress the * belief that the in roduction of machinery is urigin"ally owing to the division of labour, of which it is “considered as a mere cousequence.” ; “ But in truih, the history of man shews us, that " the simplest and most efficacious machines for supW planting labour-instruments with which habit
has so familiar zed us, that we hardly dignify them s with the name of machmery)-are introduced, at 65 an early period of society, when the division of “ labour is comparatively unpractised and unknown. “ for the purpose of supplanting the personal labour “ of man in the conduct of agricultural industry ;"an art which; thr ugh its pre-eminence in the prooduction of wealth, is acknowledged (even by “.those who wish to establish that the division of “ labour is the great source of the increased opu“ lence of mankind,) is in no period of society “ distinguished by reaping benefit from the division « of labour,
“ The eagerness and anxiety of the author of the « Wealth of Nations to enforce his favourite opinion, " has made him assert, that a great part of the ma“chines employed in those manufactures in which “ labour is most subdivided, were originally the "inventions of common workinen, who, being each “ of them employed in soine very simple operastion, naturally turned their thoughts towards “ finding out easier, and readier methods of per
inaccuracy of the fact cannot escape any "one co .versant with the history of machinery --" It is certain, on the contrary, that it is to the cha“racteristic faculty which man possesses, from the « earliest period of his existence, of applying macha"nical principles to the construction of tools and "machines, calculated to perform and supplant la“bour, and to his powers of using capital for the same "purpose, in all his commercial relatious, as well as “in every transaction which requires the exertion of “ labour, that he owes the ease and wonderful rapidi
ty with which labour is executed ; and consequent"ly, that extended opulence which expands itself " throughout civilized society."* ;
I thought it my duty not to omit any of the nu. merous considerations which Lord Lauderdale has supposed calculated to discredit the division of lalour, that main pillar of the doctrine of Adam Smith; because it is of essential importance not to leave any doubts on this part of the science, and because it is equally dangerous to abandon oneself to a blind credulity, or to shut one's eyes to certain and positive
truths. : . I shall not examine whether the effects of the divi.
sion of labour were known to the nations of antiqui- . · ty, whether they occa ioned the distinction of certain
people into casts, whether the invention of machinery has been antecedent to the division of labour, and
* An Inquiry into the Nature and Origin of Public Wealth : by the Earl of Lauderdale. Edinb. 1804. chup. v, pages 286, 296, 297, 300, 301, 302..
whether the instruments of agriculture deserve the honour of being ranked ainong the machines which
shorten and facilitate labour. All these inquiries are . more curious than useful, of little interest to politi
cal eronomy, and can neither directly or indirectly contribute tu its progress.
The question, whether machinery is more conducive than the division of labour to develope the energies of the labourer, improve his faculties, increase his produce, and ameliorate its quality, appears at first sight of higher importance : but a little aitention soon shews this view of the matter to be erroneous and delusive...
"The division of labour imparts to the labourer, not only greater facility, dexterity, and intelligence, to perform the labour he has undertaken ; but what is far more important, it distributes every part of the labour in the manner best calculated to hasten and improve its perforinance; so that if it even were true that the labourer as agent of the labour, receives greater assistance from machinery than from the division of labcur, we should yet be obliged to admit that, with regard to labour in general, the distribution of the different parts of labour renders services superior to those of machinery. The division of labour appears in every respect entitled to be compared with the direction of labour. It is true, that each labourer performs more labour than the undertaker; nevertheless, the latter contributes more to its performance than each of the individual labourers. Machines are but more diligent, more active, and less expensive labourers : the division of labour is the undertaker