Thomas Jefferson Papers

Enclosure: Contemporary Translation of Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemour’s Notes on the Encouragement of American Manufactures, [ca. 31 March 1816]


Contemporary Translation

on the advantages of giving encouragement to american manufactures.

In order to judge what are the interests which we recommend to congress, when we beg them to afford an effectua[l] support to American manufactures, it is necessary to have studied the science of values, and to consider of what these are composed.

The value of manufactured goods is made up of several distinct values.

1st. That of the raw material.—For the two principal manufactures of the United States, those of wool and of cotton, the raw material is entirely American; and whatever is employed, is to the profit of the agriculture of the country. The raising of sheep may produce an immense gain to the Western States.

2dly. The value of the wages of the workmen. This is the most considerable part of the expense of manufacturing. It is paid from day to day, and is consumed by the workmen in bread and meat and vegetables and other necessaries of life,1 all of which are sold by the farmers, and for the profit of agriculture. The payments, moreover, are made in cash, without the expense of commission or of transport, and without danger from storms or from pirates.

3dly. The surplus consists of the interest of the capital required, and in the gain or profit accruing to the employers, for their trouble and labor.—These two last articles are commonly confounded. They rarely exceed fifteen per cent. of the price of the goods, and are often confined to ten. For a long time hence, they will not even reach to this rate, the English competition being too powerful.

From this examination of the price of American manufactures, it results that ninety, or at least eighty-five per cent. of this price is a direct encouragement given to agriculture; and ten, or at most fifteen per cent. constitutes the profit or salary of the employers, comprehending the interest of their capitals.

The2 question for the legislators is reduced then3 to this:—are you willing to give to the national industry in general an encouragement to be divided thus:—ninety, or at least eighty-five per cent in favor of agriculture; and ten, or at most fifteen per cent. to the profit of industrious men.

These industrious employers spend the par[t] which comes to them, in the price of the goods, [e]ither in articles of consumption derived from agriculture, or in improvements, meliorations, and extensions of their establishments, the produce of which will still be divided in the same proportion;—ninety or eighty-five per cent. for the former, ten or fifteen for the manufacturer.4

This course may continue until America shall be, throughout, and at all points, completely and perfectly cultivated. This will be at least for six hundred years; and more probably, the reign of the increasing prosperity and population of the United States will be a true millenium.

The happy manners of this prudent nation, prevent any enterprize from being established, as in Europe, to the detriment of others; on the contrary, they mutually support each other. The ingenious invention of banks prevents the want of funds, and gives the advantage of capitals even before they are created. It is tacitly agreed, by the medium of banks, to establish a mutual credit until the proposed enterprise shall be brought into activity, and shall afford the means of defraying its own cost. There are but few losses, and these should be regarded only as a light premium of insurance for so great a benefit.

These considerations have respect only to the interior riches, abundance, and prosperity of the country. But the noble interest of the national independence, that of not giving to the agriculture and the industry of any5 jealous foreign nation, the means of sending and supporting among us mercenary armies, to lay waste our fields, burn our cities, and insult our women, is an object of much higher importance to freemen, to republicans.

Printed translation by Robert M. Patterson in Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 3 Apr. 1816; undated; some characters obscured by fold or printer’s error in copy at PPAmP supplied from version in Philadelphia Weekly Aurora, 9 Apr. 1816; at head of text: “for the aurora”; at foot of text: “D P. d. N.”

1Aurora here condenses from “pain, Viande, beurre, œufs, lait, fromages, dindons, poulets, légumes et boissons” (“bread, meat, butter, eggs, milk, cheese, turkeys, chickens, vegetables, and beverages”).

2Extraneous opening double quotation mark in front of this word editorially omitted.

3Aurora: “them.”

4Aurora here omits “Et dans les improvemens même il y a toujours une grande depense en Salaires d’ouvriers qui passe tout de Suite en consommations au profit divers de l’Agriculture” (“And even these same improvements always carry with them a great expenditure on worker’s salaries, which, through consumption, immediately profit agriculture”).

5Aurora here omits “ambitieuse, Tyrannique, et” (“ambitious, tyrannical, and”).

Index Entries

  • agriculture; and manufacturing interests search
  • agriculture; government subsidies to search
  • Aurora (Philadelphia newspaper); publishes essay by P. S. Du Pont de Nemours search
  • banks; P. S. Du Pont de Nemours on search
  • bread; in American workers’ diet search
  • butter; in American workers’ diet search
  • cheese; in American workers’ diet search
  • chickens search
  • cotton; manufactures from search
  • Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel; and subsidies to agriculture and industry search
  • Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel; Notes on the Encouragement of American Manufactures search
  • Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel; on American financial system search
  • Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel; on banks search
  • Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel; on manufacturing search
  • eggs search
  • food; bread search
  • food; butter search
  • food; cheese search
  • food; chicken search
  • food; eggs search
  • food; milk search
  • food; turkey search
  • French language; documents in, by; P. S. Du Pont de Nemours search
  • manufacturing; cotton search
  • manufacturing; encouragement of in U.S. search
  • manufacturing; relationship to agricultural production search
  • manufacturing; wool search
  • milk; in American workers’ diet search
  • newspapers; PhiladelphiaAurora search
  • Patterson, Robert Maskell; and translation of P. S. Du Pont de Nemours’s works search
  • sheep; profitability of raising search
  • turkeys; in American workers’ diet search
  • United States; and raising sheep search
  • United States; cost of labor search
  • United States; economy of search
  • wool; production of search