no doubt have been the work of deep thought 
and long time, and may justly be considered 
as among the happiest efforts of human ingenuity
But when both have been fairly invented
and are well understood, to explain 
to any young man, in the completest manner
how to apply the instruments, and how to 
construct the machines, cannot well require 
more than the lessons of a few weeks; perhaps 
those of a few days might be sufficient
In the common mechanic trades, those of a 
few days might certainly be sufficient. The 
dexterity of hand, indeed, even in common 
trades, cannot be acquired without much practice 
and experience. But a young man would 
practice with much more diligence and attention
if from the beginning he wrought as a 
journeyman, being paid in proportion to the 
little work which he could execute, and paying 
in his turn for the materials which he 
might sometimes spoil through awkwardness 
and inexperience. His education would generally 
in this way be more effectual, and always 
less tedious and expensive. The master
indeed, would be a loser. He would lose 
all the wages of the apprentice, which he now 
saves, for seven years together. In the end, 
perhaps, the apprentice himself would be a 
loser. In a trade so easily learnt he would 
have more competitors, and his wages, when 
he came to be a complete workman, would be 
much less than at present. The same increase 
of competition would reduce the profits of the 
masters, as well as the wages of workmen
The trades, the crafts, the mysteries, would 
all be losers. But the public would be a 
gainer, the work of all artificers coming in 
this way much cheaper to market. 
It is to prevent this reduction of price, and 
consequently of wages and profit, by restraining 
that free competition which would most 
certainly occasion it, that all corporations
and the greater part of corporation laws, have 
been established. In order to erect a corporation
no other authority in ancient times was 
requisite, in many parts of Europe, but that 
of the town-corporate in which it was established
In England, indeed, a charter from 
the king was likewise necessary. But this 
prerogative of the crown seems to have been 
reserved rather for extorting money from the 
subject, than for the defence of the common 
liberty against such oppressive monopolies
Upon paying a fine to the king, the charter 
seems generally to have been readily granted; 
and when any particular class of artificers or 
traders thought proper to act as a corporation
without a charter, such adulterine guilds, as 
they were called, were not always disfranchised 
upon that account, but obliged to fine annually 
to the king, for permission to exercise 
their usurped privileges[12]. The immediate 
inspection of all corporations, and of the bye-laws 
which they might think proper to enact 
for their own government, belonged to the 
town-corporate in which they were established
and whatever discipline was exercised 
over them, proceeded commonly, not from the 
king, but from that greater incorporation of 
which those subordinate ones were only parts 
or members
The government of towns-corporate was altogether 
in the hands of traders and artificers
and it was the manifest interest of every particular 
class of them, to prevent the market 
from being overstocked, as they commonly express 
it, with their own particular species of 
industry; which is in reality to keep it always 
understocked. Each class was eager 
to establish regulations proper for this purpose
and, provided it was allowed to do so, 
was willing to consent that every other class 
should do the same. In consequence of such 
regulations, indeed, each class was obliged to 
buy the goods they had occasion for from 
every other within the town, somewhat dearer 
than they otherwise might have done. But, 
in recompence, they were enabled to sell their 
own just as much dearer; so that, so far it 
was as broad as long, as they say; and in the 
dealings of the different classes within the 
town with one another, none of them were 
losers by these regulations. But in their 
dealings with the country they were all great 
gainers; and in these latter dealings consist 
the whole trade which supports and enriches 
every town
Every town draws its whole subsistence
and all the materials of its industry, from the 
country. It pays for these chiefly in two 
ways. First, by sending back to the country 
a part of those materials wrought up and manufactured
in which case, their price is augmented 
by the wages of the workmen, and the 
profits of their masters or immediate employers
secondly, by sending to it a part both of the 
rude and manufactured produce, either of 
other countries, or of distant parts 
of the same country, imported into the town; in 
which case, too, the original price of those 
goods is augmented by the wages of the carriers 
or sailors, and by the profits of the 
merchants who employ them. In what is 
gained upon the first of those branches of 
commerce, consists the advantage which the 
town makes by its manufactures; in what is 
gained upon the second, the advantage of its 
inland and foreign trade. The wages of the 
workmen, and the profits of their different 
employers, make up the whole of what is 
gained upon both. Whatever regulations
therefore, tend to increase those wages and 
profits beyond what they otherwise would be, 
tend to enable the town to purchase, with a 
smaller quantity of its labour, the produce of 
a greater quantity of the labour of the country
They give the traders and artificers in the 
town an advantage over the landlords, 
farmers, and labourers, in the country, and