to those trades which were established in England 
before the 5th of Elizabeth, and has never 
been extended to such as have been introduced 
since that time. This limitation has 
given occasion to several distinctions, which, 
considered as rules of police, appear as foolish 
as can well be imagined. It has been adjudged
for example, that a coachmaker can 
neither himself make nor employ journeymen 
to make his coach-wheels, but must buy them 
of a master wheel-wright; this latter trade 
having been exercised in England before the 
5th of Elizabeth. But a wheel-wright, though 
he has never served an apprenticeship to a 
coachmaker, may either himself make or employ 
journeymen to make coaches; the trade 
of a coachmaker not being within the statute
because not exercised in England at the time 
when it was made. The manufactures of 
Manchester, Birmingham, and Wolverhampton, 
are many of them, upon this account, not 
within the statute, not having been exercised 
in England before the 5th of Elizabeth
In France, the duration of apprenticeships 
is different in different towns and in different 
trades. In Paris, five years is the term required 
in a great number; but, before any 
person can be qualified to exercise the trade 
as a master, he must, in many of them, serve 
five years more as a journeyman. During 
this latter term, he is called the companion of 
his master, and the term itself is called his 
In Scotland, there is no general law which 
regulates universally the duration of apprenticeships
The term is different in different 
corporations. Where it is long, a part of it 
may generally be redeemed by paying a small 
fine. In most towns, too, a very small fine is 
sufficient to purchase the freedom of any corporation
The weavers of linen and hempen 
cloth, the principal manufactures of the country, 
as well as all other artificers subservient 
to them, wheel-makers, reel-makers, &c. may 
exercise their trades in any town-corporate
without paying any fine. In all towns-corporate
all persons are free to sell butchers' 
meat upon any lawful day of the week. Three 
years is, in Scotland, a common term of apprenticeship, 
even in some very nice trades
and, in general, I know of no country in Europe, 
in which corporation laws are so little 
The property which every man has in his 
own labour, as it is the original foundation of 
all other property, so it is the most sacred and 
inviolable. The patrimony of a poor man 
lies in the strength and dexterity of his hands
and to hinder him from employing this 
strength and dexterity in what manner he 
thinks proper, without injury to his neighbour
is a plain violation of this most sacred 
property. It is a manifest encroachment 
upon the just liberty, both of the workman
and of those who might be disposed to employ 
him. As it hinders the one from working 
at what he thinks proper, so it hinders the 
others from employing whom they think proper. 
To judge whether he is fit to be employed, 
may surely be trusted to the discretion 
of the employers, whose interest it so 
much concerns. The affected anxiety of the 
lawgiver, lest they should employ an improper 
person, is evidently as impertinent as it is 
The institution of long apprenticeships can 
give no security that insufficient workmanship 
shall not frequently be exposed to public 
sale. When this is done, it is generally the 
effect of fraud, and not of inability; and the 
longest apprenticeship can give no security 
against fraud. Quite different regulations 
are necessary to prevent this abuse. The 
sterling mark upon plate, and the stamps upon 
linen and woollen cloth, give the purchaser 
much greater security than any statute of apprenticeship
He generally looks at these, 
but never thinks it worth while to enquire 
whether the workman had served a seven 
years apprenticeship
The institution of long apprenticeships has 
no tendency to form young people to industry
A journeyman who works by the piece 
is likely to be industrious, because he derives 
a benefit from every exertion of his industry
An apprentice is likely to be idle, and almost 
always is so, because he has no immediate interest 
to be otherwise. In the inferior employments
the sweets of labour consist altogether 
in the recompence of labour. They 
who are soonest in a condition to enjoy the 
sweets of it, are likely soonest to conceive
relish for it, and to acquire the early habit of 
industry. A young man naturally conceives 
an aversion to labour, when for a long time 
he receives no benefit from it. The boys who 
are put out apprentices from public charities 
are generally bound for more than the usual 
number of years, and they generally turn out 
very idle and worthless. 
Apprenticeships were altogether unknown 
to the ancients. The reciprocal duties of master 
and apprentice make a considerable article 
in every modern code. The Roman law is 
perfectly silent with regard to them. I know 
no Greek or Latin word (I might venture, I 
believe, to assert that there is none) which expresses 
the idea we now annex to the word 
apprentice, a servant bound to work at a particular 
trade for the benefit of a master, during 
a term of years, upon condition that the 
master shall teach him that trade. 
Long apprenticeships are altogether unnecessary. 
The arts, which are much superior 
to common trades, such as those of making 
clocks and watches, contain no such mystery 
as to require a long course of instruction
The first invention of such beautiful machines
indeed, and even that of some of the instruments 
employed in making them, must no