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    Book I: Chapter 11

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    Chapter 12
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    CHAPTER XI.

    OF THE RENT OF LAND.

    Rent, considered as the price paid for the use of land, is naturally the
    highest which the tenant can afford to pay in the actual circumstances of
    the land. In adjusting the terms of the lease, the landlord endeavours to
    leave him no greater share of the produce than what is sufficient to keep up
    the stock from which he furnishes the seed, pays the labour, and purchases
    and maintains the cattle and other instruments of husbandry, together with
    the ordinary profits of farming stock in the neighbourhood. This is
    evidently the smallest share with which the tenant can content himself,
    without being a loser, and the landlord seldom means to leave him any more.
    Whatever part of the produce, or, what is the same thing, whatever part of
    its price, is over and above this share, he naturally endeavours to reserve
    to himself as the rent of his land, which is evidently the highest the
    tenant can afford to pay in the actual circumstances of the land. Sometimes,
    indeed, the liberality, more frequently the ignorance, of the landlord,
    makes him accept of somewhat less than this portion ; and sometimes, too,
    though more rarely, the ignorance of the tenant makes him undertake to pay
    somewhat more, or to content himself with somewhat less, than the ordinary
    profits of farming stock in the neighbourhood. This portion, however, may
    still be considered as the natural rent of land, or the rent at which it is
    naturally meant that land should, for the most part, be let.

    The rent of land, it may be thought, is frequently no more than a reasonable
    profit or interest for the stock laid out by the landlord upon its
    improvement. This, no doubt, may be partly the case upon some occasions ;
    for it can scarce ever be more than partly the case. The landlord demands a
    rent even for unimproved land, and the supposed interest or profit upon the
    expense of improvement is generally an addition to this original rent. Those
    improvements, besides, are not always made by the stock of the landlord, but
    sometimes by that of the tenant. When the lease comes to be renewed,
    however, the landlord commonly demands the same augmentation of rent as if
    they had been all made by his own.

    He sometimes demands rent for what is altogether incapable of human
    improvements. Kelp is a species of sea-weed, which, when burnt, yields an
    alkaline salt, useful for making glass, soap, and for several other
    purposes. It grows in several parts of Great Britain, particularly in
    Scotland, upon such rocks only as lie within the high-water mark, which are
    twice every day covered with the sea, and of which the produce, therefore,
    was never augmented by human industry. The landlord, however, whose estate
    is bounded by a kelp shore of this kind, demands a rent for it as much as
    for his corn-fields.

    The sea in the neighbourhood of the islands of Shetland is more than
    commonly abundant in fish, which makes a great part of the subsistence of
    their inhabitants. But, in order to profit by the produce of the water, they
    must have a habitation upon the neighbouring land. The rent of the landlord
    is in proportion, not to what the farmer can make by the land, but to what
    he can make both by the land and the water. It is partly paid in sea-fish;
    and one of the very few instances in which rent makes a part of the price of
    that commodity, is to be found in that country.

    The rent of land, therefore, considered as the price paid for the use of the
    land, is naturally a monopoly price. It is not at all proportioned to what
    the landlord may have laid out upon the improvement of the land, or to what
    he can afford to take, but to what the farmer can afford to give.

    Such parts only of the produce of land can commonly be brought to market, of
    which the ordinary price is sufficient to replace the stock which must be
    employed in bringing them thither, together with its ordinary profits. If
    the ordinary price is more than this, the surplus part of it will naturally
    go to the rent of the land. If it is not more, though the commodity may be
    brought to market, it can afford no rent to the landlord. Whether the price
    is, or is not more, depends upon the demand.

    There are some parts of the produce of land, for which the demand must
    always be such as to afford a greater price than what is sufficient to bring
    them to market; and there are others for which it either may or may not be
    such as to afford this greater price. The former must always afford a rent
    to the landlord. The latter sometimes may and sometimes may not, according
    to different circumstances.

    Rent, it is to be observed, therefore, enters into the composition of the
    price of commodities in a different way from wages and profit. High or low
    wages and profit are the causes of high or low price ; high or low rent is
    the effect of it. It is because high or low wages and profit must be paid,
    in order to bring a particular commodity to market, that its price is high
    or low. But it is because its price is high or low, a great deal more, or
    very little more, or no more, than what is sufficient to pay those wages and
    profit, that it affords a high rent, or a low rent, or no rent at all.

    The particular consideration, first, of those parts of the produce of land
    which always afford some rent ; secondly, of those which sometimes may and
    sometimes may not afford rent ; and, thirdly, of the variations which, in
    the different periods of improvement, naturally take place in the relative
    value of those two different sorts of rude produce, when compared both with
    one another and with manufactured commodities, will divide this chapter into
    three parts.

    PART I. - Of the Produce of Land which always affords Rent.

    As men, like all other animals, naturally multiply in proportion to the
    means of their subsistence, food is always more or less in demand. It can
    always purchase or command a greater or smaller quantity of labour, and
    somebody can always be found who is willing to do something in order to
    obtain it. The quantity of labour, indeed, which it can purchase, is not
    always equal to what it could maintain, if managed in the most economical
    manner, on account of the high wages which are sometimes given to labour ;
    but it can always purchase such a quantity of labour as it can maintain,
    according to the rate at which that sort of labour is commonly maintained in
    the neighbourhood.

    But land, in almost any situation, produces a greater quantity of food than
    what is sufficient to maintain all the labour necessary for bringing it to
    market, in the most liberal way in which that labour is ever maintained. The
    surplus, too, is always more than sufficient to replace the stock which
    employed that labour, together with its profits. Something, therefore,
    always remains for a rent to the landlord.

    The most desert moors in Norway and Scotland produce some sort of pasture
    for cattle, of which the milk and the increase are always more than
    sufficient, not only to maintain all the labour necessary for tending them,
    and to pay the ordinary profit to the farmer or the owner of the herd or
    flock, but to afford some small rent to the landlord. The rent increases in
    proportion to the goodness of the pasture. The same extent of ground not
    only maintains a greater number of cattle, but as they we brought within a
    smaller compass, less labour becomes requisite to tend them, and to collect
    their produce. The landlord gains both ways; by the increase of the produce,
    and by the diminution of the labour which must be maintained out of it.

    The rent of land not only varies with its fertility, whatever be its
    produce, but with its situation, whatever be its fertility. Land in the
    neighbourhood of a town gives a greater rent than land equally fertile in a
    distant part of the country. Though it may cost no more labour to cultivate
    the one than the other, it must always cost more to bring the produce of the
    distant land to market. A greater quantity of labour, therefore, must be
    maintained out of it; and the surplus, from which are drawn both the profit
    of the farmer and the rent of the landlord, must be diminished. But in
    remote parts of the country, the rate of profit, as has already been shewn,
    is generally higher than in the neighbourhood of a large town. A smaller
    proportion of this diminished surplus, therefore, must belong to the
    landlord.

    Good roads, canals, and navigable rivers, by diminishing the expense of
    carriage, put the remote parts of the country more nearly upon a level with
    those in the neighbourhood of the town. They are upon that account the
    greatest of all improvements. They encourage the cultivation of the remote,
    which must always be the most extensive circle of the country. They are
    advantageous to the town by breaking down the monopoly of the country in its
    neighbourhood. They are advantageous even to that part of the country.
    Though they introduce some rival commodities into the old market, they open
    many new markets to its produce. Monopoly, besides, is a great enemy to good
    management, which can never be universally established, but in consequence
    of that free and universal competition which forces every body to have
    recourse to it for the sake of self defence. It is not more than fifty years
    ago, that some of the counties in the neighbourhood of London petitioned the
    parliament against the extension of the turnpike roads into the remoter
    counties. Those remoter counties, they pretended, from the cheapness of
    labour, would be able to sell their grass and corn cheaper in the London
    market than themselves, and would thereby reduce their rents, and ruin their
    cultivation. Their rents, however, have risen, and their cultivation has
    been improved since that time.

    A corn field of moderate fertility produces a much greater quantity of food
    for man, than the best pasture of equal extent. Though its cultivation
    requires much more labour, yet the surplus which remains after replacing the
    seed and maintaining all that labour, is likewise much greater. If a pound
    of butcher's meat, therefore, was never supposed to be worth more than a
    pound of bread, this greater surplus would everywhere be of greater value
    and constitute a greater fund, both for the profit of the farmer and the
    rent of the landlord. It seems to have done so universally in the rude
    beginnings of agriculture.

    But the relative values of those two different species of food, bread and
    butcher's meat, are very different in the different periods of agriculture.
    In its rude beginnings, the unimproved wilds, which then occupy the far
    greater part of the country, are all abandoned to cattle. There is more
    butcher's meat than bread; and bread, therefore, is the food for which there
    is the greatest competition, and which consequently brings the greatest
    price. At Buenos Ayres, we are told by Ulloa, four reals, one-and-twenty
    pence halfpenny sterling, was, forty or fifty years ago, the ordinary price
    of an ox, chosen from a herd of two or three hundred. He says nothing of the
    price of bread, probably because he found nothing remarkable about it. An ox
    there, he says, costs little more than the labour of catching him. But corn
    can nowhere be raised without a great deal of labour ; and in a country
    which lies upon the river Plate, at that time the direct road from Europe to
    the silver mines of Potosi, the money-price of labour could be very cheap.
    It is otherwise when cultivation is extended over the greater part of the
    country. There is then more bread than butcher's meat. The competition
    changes its direction, and the price of butcher's meat becomes greater
    than the price of bread.

    By the extension, besides, of cultivation, the unimproved wilds become
    insufficient to supply the demand for butcher's meat. A great part of the
    cultivated lands must be employed in rearing and fattening cattle ; of which
    the price, therefore, must be sufficient to pay, not only the labour
    necessary for tending them, but the rent which the landlord, and the profit
    which the farmer, could have drawn from such land employed in tillage. The
    cattle bred upon the most uncultivated moors, when brought to the same
    market, are, in proportion to their weight or goodness, sold at the same
    price as those which are reared upon the most improved land. The proprietors
    of those moors profit by it, and raise the rent of their land in proportion
    to the price of their cattle. It is not more than a century ago, that in
    many parts of the Highlands of Scotland, butcher's meat was as cheap or
    cheaper than even bread made of oatmeal The Union opened the market of
    England to the Highland cattle. Their ordinary price, at present, is about
    three times greater than at the beginning of the century, and the rents of
    many Highland estates have been tripled and quadrupled in the same time. In
    almost every part of Great Britain, a pound of the best butcher's meat is,
    in the present times, generally worth more than two pounds of the best white
    bread ; and in plentiful years it is sometimes worth three or four pounds.

    It is thus that, in the progress of improvement, the rent and profit of
    unimproved pasture come to be regulated in some measure by the rent and
    profit of what is improved, and these again by the rent and profit of corn.
    Corn is an annual crop ; butcher's meat, a crop which requires four or five
    years to grow. As an acre of land, therefore, will produce a much smaller
    quantity of the one species of food than of the other, the inferiority of
    the quantity must be compensated by the superiority of the price. If it was
    more than compensated, more corn-land would be turned into pasture ; and if
    it was not compensated, part of what was in pasture would be brought back
    into corn.

    This equality, however, between the rent and profit of grass and those of
    corn ; of the land of which the immediate produce is food for cattle, and of
    that of which the immediate produce is food for men, must be understood to
    take place only through the greater part of the improved lands of a great
    country. In some particular local situations it is quite otherwise, and the
    rent and profit of grass are much superior to what can be made by corn.

    Thus, in the neighbourhood of a great town, the demand for milk, and for
    forage to horses, frequently contribute, together with the high price of
    butcher's meat, to raise the value of grass above what may be called its
    natural proportion to that of corn. This local advantage, it is evident,
    cannot be communicated to the lands at a distance.

    Particular circumstances have sometimes rendered some countries so populous,
    that the whole territory, like the lands in the neighbourhood of a great
    town, has not been sufficient to produce both the grass and the corn
    necessary for the subsistence of their inhabitants. Their lands, therefore,
    have been principally employed in the production of grass, the more bulky
    commodity, and which cannot be so easily brought from a great distance; and
    corn, the food of the great body of the people, has been chiefly imported
    from foreign countries. Holland is at present in this situation; and a
    considerable part of ancient Italy seems to have been so during the
    prosperity of the Romans. To feed well, old Cato said, as we are told by
    Cicero, was the first and most profitable thing in the management of a
    private estate ; to feed tolerably well, the second ; and to feed ill, the
    third. To plough, he ranked only in the fourth place of profit and
    advantage. Tillage, indeed, in that part of ancient Italy which lay in the
    neighbour hood of Rome, must have been very much discouraged by the
    distributions of corn which were frequently made to the people, either
    gratuitously, or at a very low price. This corn was brought from the
    conquered provinces, of which several, instead of taxes, were obliged to
    furnish a tenth part of their produce at a stated price, about sixpence
    a-peck, to the republic. The low price at which this corn was distributed to
    the people, must necessarily have sunk the price of what could be brought to
    the Roman market from Latium, or the ancient territory of Rome, and must
    have discouraged its cultivation in that country.

    In an open country, too, of which the principal produce is corn, a
    well-inclosed piece of grass will frequently rent higher than any corn field
    in its neighbourhood. It is convenient for the maintenance of the cattle
    employed in the cultivation of the corn; and its high rent is, in this case,
    not so properly paid from the value of its own produce, as from that of the
    corn lands which are cultivated by means of it. It is likely to fall, if
    ever the neighbouring lands are completely inclosed. The present high rent
    of inclosed land in Scotland seems owing to the scarcity of inclosure, and
    will probably last no longer than that scarcity. The advantage of inclosure
    is greater for pasture than for corn. It saves the labour of guarding the
    cattle, which feed better, too, when they are not liable to be disturbed by
    their keeper or his dog.

    But where there is no local advantage of this kind, the rent and profit of
    corn, or whatever else is the common vegetable food of the people, must
    naturally regulate upon the land which is fit for producing it, the rent and
    profit of pasture.

    The use of the artificial grasses, of turnips, carrots, cabbages, and the
    other expedients which have been fallen upon to make an equal quantity of
    land feed a greater number of cattle than when in natural grass, should
    somewhat reduce, it might be expected, the superiority which, in an
    improved country, the price of butcher's meat naturally has over that of
    bread. It seems accordingly to have done so ; and there is some reason for
    believing that, at least in the London market, the price of butcher's meat,
    in proportion to the price of bread, is a good deal lower in the present
    times than it was in the beginning of the last century.

    In the Appendix to the life of Prince Henry, Doctor Birch has given us an
    account of the prices of butcher's meat as commonly paid by that prince. It
    is there said, that the four quarters of an ox, weighing six hundred pounds,
    usually cost him nine pounds ten shillings, or thereabouts; that is
    thirty-one shillings and eight-pence per hundred pounds weight. Prince Henry
    died on the 6th of November 1612, in the nineteenth year of his age.

    In March 1764, there was a parliamentary inquiry into the causes of the high
    price of provisions at that time. It was then, among other proof to the same
    purpose, given in evidence by a Virginia merchant, that in March 1763, he
    had victualled his ships for twentyfour or twenty-five shillings the hundred
    weight of beef, which he considered as the ordinary price; whereas, in that
    dear year, he had paid twenty-seven shillings for the same weight and sort.
    This high price in 1764 is, however, four shillings and eight-pence cheaper
    than the ordinary price paid by Prince Henry ; and it is the best beef only,
    it must be observed, which is fit to be salted for those distant voyages.

    The price paid by Prince Henry amounts to 3d. 4/5ths per pound weight of the
    whole carcase, coarse and choice pieces taken together ; and at that rate
    the choice pieces could not have been sold by retail for less than 4½d. or
    5d. the pound.

    In the parliamentary inquiry in 1764, the witnesses stated the price of the
    choice pieces of the best beef to be to the consumer 4d. and 4½d. the
    pound; and the coarse pieces in general to be from seven farthings to 2½d.
    and 2¾d.; and this, they said, was in general one halfpenny dearer than the
    same sort of pieces had usually been sold in the month of March. But even
    this high price is still a good deal cheaper than what we can well suppose
    the ordinary retail price to have been in the time of Prince Henry.

    During the first twelve years of the last century, the average price of the
    best wheat at the Windsor market was £ 1:18:3½d. the quarter of nine
    Winchester bushels.

    But in the twelve years preceding 1764 including that year, the average
    price of the same measure of the best wheat at the same market was £
    2:1:9½d.

    In the first twelve years of the last century, therefore, wheat appears to
    have been a good deal cheaper, and butcher's meat a good deal dearer, than
    in the twelve years preceding 1764, including that year.

    In all great countries, the greater part of the cultivated lands are
    employed in producing either food for men or food for cattle. The rent and
    profit of these regulate the rent and profit of all other cultivated land.
    If any particular produce afforded less, the land would soon be turned into
    corn or pasture; and if any afforded more, some part of the lands in corn or
    pasture would soon be turned to that produce.

    Those productions, indeed, which require either a greater original expense
    of improvement, or a greater annual expense of cultivation in order to fit
    the land for them, appear commonly to afford, the one a greater rent, the
    other a greater profit, than corn or pasture. This superiority, however,
    will seldom be found to amount to more than a reasonable interest or
    compensation for this superior expense.

    In a hop garden, a fruit garden, a kitchen garden, both the rent of the
    landlord, and the profit of the farmer, are generally greater than in acorn
    or grass field. But to bring the ground into this condition requires more
    expense. Hence a greater rent becomes due to the landlord. It requires, too,
    a more attentive and skilful management. Hence a greater profit becomes due
    to the farmer. The crop, too, at least in the hop and fruit garden, is more
    precarious. Its price, therefore, besides compensating all occasional
    losses, must afford something like the profit of insurance. The
    circumstances of gardeners, generally mean, and always moderate, may satisfy
    us that their great ingenuity is not commonly over-recompensed. Their
    delightful art is practised by so many rich people for amusement, that
    little advantage is to be made by those who practise it for profit; because
    the persons who should naturally be their best customers, supply themselves
    with all their most precious productions.

    The advantage which the landlord derives from such improvements, seems at no
    time to have been greater than what was sufficient to compensate the
    original expense of making them. In the ancient husbandry, after the
    vineyard, a well-watered kitchen garden seems to have been the part of the
    farm which was supposed to yield the most valuable produce. But Democritus,
    who wrote upon husbandry about two thousand years ago, and who was regarded
    by the ancients as one of the fathers of the art, thought they did not act
    wisely who inclosed a kitchen garden. The profit, he said, would not
    compensate the expense of a stone-wall: and bricks (he meant, I suppose,
    bricks baked in the sun) mouldered with the rain and the winter-storm, and
    required continual repairs. Columella, who reports this judgment of
    Democritus, does not controvert it, but proposes a very frugal method of
    inclosing with a hedge of brambles and briars, which he says he had found by
    experience to be both a lasting and an impenetrable fence ; but which, it
    seems, was not commonly known in the time of Democritus. Palladius adopts
    the opinion of Columella, which had before been recommended by Varro. In the
    judgment of those ancient improvers. the produce of a kitchen garden had, it
    seems, been little more than sufficient to pay the extraordinary culture and
    the expense of watering ; for in countries so near the sun, it was thought
    proper, in those times as in the present, to have the command of a stream of
    water, which could be conducted to every bed in the garden. Through the
    greater part of Europe, a kitchen garden is not at present supposed to
    deserve a better inclosure than mat recommended by Columella. In Great
    Britain, and some other northern countries, the finer fruits cannot Be
    brought to perfection but by the assistance of a wall. Their price,
    therefore, in such countries, must be sufficient to pay the expense of
    building and maintaining what they cannot be had without. The fruit-wall
    frequently surrounds the kitchen garden, which thus enjoys the benefit of an
    inclosure which its own produce could seldom pay for.

    That the vineyard, when properly planted and brought to perfection, was the
    most valuable part of the farm, seems to have been an undoubted maxim in the
    ancient agriculture, as it is in the modern, through all the wine countries.
    But whether it was advantageous to plant a new vineyard, was a matter of
    dispute among the ancient Italian husbandmen, as we learn from Columella. He
    decides, like a true lover of all curious cultivation, in favour of the
    vineyard; and endeavours to shew, by a comparison of the profit and expense,
    that it was a most advantageous improvement. Such comparisons, however,
    between the profit and expense of new projects are commonly very fallacious
    ; and in nothing more so than in agriculture. Had the gain actually made by
    such plantations been commonly as great as he imagined it might have been,
    there could have been no dispute about it. The same point is frequently at
    this day a matter of controversy in the wine countries. Their writers on
    agriculture, indeed, the lovers and promoters of high cultivation, seem
    generally disposed to decide with Columella in favour of the vineyard. In
    France, the anxiety of the proprietors of the old vineyards to prevent the
    planting of any new ones, seems to favour their opinion, and to indicate a
    consciousness in those who must have the experience, that this species of
    cultivation is at present in that country more profitable than any other. It
    seems, at the same time, however, to indicate another opinion, that this
    superior profit can last no longer than the laws which at present restrain
    the free cultivation of the vine. In 1731, they obtained an order of
    council, prohibiting both the planting of new vineyards, and the renewal of
    these old ones, of which the cultivation had been interrupted for two years,
    without a particular permission from the king, to be granted only in
    consequence of an information from the intendant of the province, certifying
    that he had examined the land, and that it was incapable of any other
    culture. The pretence of this order was the scarcity of corn and pasture,
    and the superabundance of wine. But had this superabundance been real, it
    would, without any order of council, have effectually prevented the
    plantation of new vineyards, by reducing the profits of this species of
    cultivation below their natural proportion to those of corn and pasture.
    With regard to the supposed scarcity of corn occasioned by the
    multiplication of vineyards, corn is nowhere in France more carefully
    cultivated than in the wine provinces, where the land is fit for producing
    it: as in Burgundy, Guienne, and the Upper Languedoc. The numerous hands
    employed in the one species of cultivation necessarily encourage the other,
    by affording a ready market for its produce. To diminish the number of those
    who are capable of paying it, is surely a most unpromising expedient for
    encouraging the cultivation of corn. It is like the policy which would
    promote agriculture, by discouraging manufactures.

    The rent and profit of those productions, therefore, which require either a
    greater original expense of improvement in order to fit the land for them,
    or a greater annual expense of cultivation, though often much superior to
    those of corn and pasture, yet when they do no more than compensate such
    extraordinary expense, are in reality regulated by the rent and profit of
    those common crops.

    It sometimes happens, indeed, that the quantity of land which can be fitted
    for some particular produce, is too small to supply the effectual demand.
    The whole produce can be disposed of to those who are willing to give
    somewhat more than what is sufficient to pay the whole rent, wages, and
    profit, necessary for raising and bringing it to market, according to their
    natural rates, or according to the rates at which they are paid in the
    greater part of other cultivated land. The surplus part of the price which
    remains after defraying the whole expense of improvement and cultivation,
    may commonly, in this case, and in this case only, bear no regular
    proportion to the like surplus in corn or pasture, but may exceed it in
    almost any degree; and the greater part of this excess naturally goes to the
    rent of the landlord.

    The usual and natural proportion, for example, between the rent and profit
    of wine, and those of corn and pasture, must be understood to take place
    only with regard to those vineyards which produce nothing but good common
    wine, such as can be raised almost anywhere, upon any light, gravelly, or
    sandy soil, and which has nothing to recommend it but its strength and
    wholesomeness. It is with such vineyards only, that the common land of the
    country can be brought into competition ; for with those of a peculiar
    quality it is evident that it cannot.

    The vine is more affected by the difference of soils than any other
    fruit-tree. From some it derives a flavour which no culture or management
    can equal, it is supposed, upon any other. This flavour, real or imaginary,
    is sometimes peculiar to the produce of a few vineyards; sometimes it
    extends through the greater part of a small district, and sometimes through
    a considerable part of a large province. The whole quantity of such wines
    that is brought to market falls short of the effectual demand, or the demand
    of those who would be willing to pay the whole rent, profit, and wages,
    necessary for preparing and bringing them thither, according to the ordinary
    rate, or according to the rate at which they are paid in common vineyards.
    The whole quantity, therefore, can be disposed of to those who are willing
    to pay more, which necessarily raises their price above that of common wine.
    The difference is greater or less, according as the fashionableness and
    scarcity of the wine render the competition of the buyers more or less
    eager. Whatever it be, the greater part of it goes to the rent of the
    landlord. For though such vineyards are in general more carefully cultivated
    than most others, the high price of the wine seems to be, not so much the
    effect, as the cause of this careful cultivation. In so valuable a produce,
    the loss occasioned by negligence is so great, as to force even the most
    careless to attention. A small part of this high price, therefore, is
    sufficient to pay the wages of the extraordinary labour bestowed upon their
    cultivation, and the profits of the extraordinary stock which puts that
    labour into motion.

    The sugar colonies possessed by the European nations in the West Indies may
    be compared to those precious vineyards. Their whole produce falls short of
    the effectual demand of Europe, and can be disposed of to those who are
    willing to give more than what is sufficient to pay the whole rent, profit,
    and wages, necessary for preparing and bringing it to market, according to
    the rate at which they are commonly paid by any other produce. In Cochin
    China, the finest white sugar generally sells for three piastres the
    quintal, about thirteen shillings and sixpence of our money, as we are told
    by Mr Poivre {Voyages d'un Philosophe.}, a very careful observer of the
    agriculture of that country. What is there called the quintal, weighs from a
    hundred and fifty to two hundred Paris pounds, or a hundred and seventy-five
    Paris pounds at a medium, which reduces the price of the hundred weight
    English to about eight shillings sterling; not a fourth part of what is
    commonly paid for the brown or muscovada sugars imported from our colonies,
    and not a sixth part of what is paid for the finest white sugar. The greater
    part of the cultivated lands in Cochin China are employed in producing corn
    and rice, the food of the great body of the people. The respective prices of
    corn, rice, and sugar, are there probably in the natural proportion, or in
    that which naturally takes place in the different crops of the greater part
    of cultivated land, and which recompenses the landlord and farmer, as nearly
    as can be computed, according to what is usually the original expense of
    improvement, and the annual expense of cultivation. But in our sugar
    colonies, the price of sugar bears no such proportion to that of the produce
    of a rice or corn field either in Europe or America. It is commonly said
    that a sugar planter expects that the rum and the molasses should defray the
    whole expense of his cultivation, and that his sugar should be all clear
    profit. If this be true, for I pretend not to affirm it, it is as if a corn
    farmer expected to defray the expense of his cultivation with the chaff and
    the straw, and that the grain should be all clear profit. We see frequently
    societies of merchants in London, and other trading towns, purchase waste
    lands in our sugar colonies, which they expect to improve and cultivate with
    profit, by means of factors and agents, notwithstanding the great
    distance and the uncertain returns, from the defective administration of
    justice in those countries. Nobody will attempt to improve and cultivate in
    the same manner the most fertile lands of Scotland, Ireland, or the corn
    provinces of North America, though, from the more exact administration of
    justice in these countries, more regular returns might be expected.

    In Virginia and Maryland, the cultivation of tobacco is preferred, as most
    profitable, to that of corn. Tobacco might be cultivated with advantage
    through the greater part of Europe ; but, in almost every part of Europe, it
    has become a principal subject of taxation ; and to collect a tax from every
    different farm in the country where this plant might happen to be
    cultivated, would be more difficult, it has been supposed, than to levy one
    upon its importation at the custom-house. The cultivation of tobacco has,
    upon this account, been most absurdly prohibited through the greater part of
    Europe, which necessarily gives a sort of monopoly to the countries where it
    is allowed ; and as Virginia and Maryland produce the greatest quantity of
    it, they share largely, though with some competitors, in the advantage of
    this monopoly. The cultivation of tobacco, however, seems not to be so
    advantageous as that of sugar. I have never even heard of any tobacco
    plantation that was improved and cultivated by the capital of merchants who
    resided in Great Britain; and our tobacco colonies send us home no such
    wealthy planters as we see frequently arrive from our sugar islands. Though,
    from the preference given in those colonies to the cultivation of tobacco
    above that of corn, it would appear that the effectual demand of Europe for
    tobacco is not completely supplied, it probably is more nearly so than that
    for sugar; and though the present price of tobacco is probably more than
    sufficient to pay the whole rent, wages, and profit, necessary for preparing
    and bringing it to market, according to the rate at which they are commonly
    paid in corn land, it must not be so much more as the present price of
    sugar. Our tobacco planters, accordingly, have shewn the same fear of the
    superabundance of tobacco, which the proprietors of the old vineyards in
    France have of the superabundance of wine. By act of assembly, they have
    restrained its cultivation to six thousand plants, supposed to yield a
    thousand weight of tobacco, for every negro between sixteen and sixty years
    of age. Such a negro, over and above this quantity of tobacco, can manage,
    they reckon, four acres of Indian corn. To prevent the market from being
    overstocked, too, they have sometimes, in plentiful years, we are told by Dr
    Douglas {Douglas's Summary,vol. ii. p. 379, 373.} (I suspect he has been ill
    informed), burnt a certain quantity of tobacco for every negro, in the same
    manner as the Dutch are said to do of spices. If such violent methods are
    necessary to keep up the present price of tobacco, the superior advantage of
    its culture over that of corn, if it still has any, will not probably be of
    long continuance.

    It is in this manner that the rent of the cultivated land, of which the
    produce is human food, regulates the rent of the greater part of other
    cultivated land. No particular produce can long afford less, because the
    land would immediately be turned to another use; and if any particular
    produce commonly affords more, it is because the quantity of land which can
    be fitted for it is too small to supply the effectual demand.

    In Europe, corn is the principal produce of land, which serves immediately
    for human food. Except in particular situations, therefore, the rent of corn
    land regulates in Europe that of all other cultivated land. Britain need
    envy neither the vineyards of France, nor the olive plantations of Italy.
    Except in particular situations, the value of these is regulated by that of
    corn, in which the fertility of Britain is not much inferior to that of
    either of those two countries.

    If, in any country, the common and favourite vegetable food of the people
    should be drawn from a plant of which the most common land, with the same,
    or nearly the same culture, produced a much greater quantity than the most
    fertile does of corn ; the rent of the landlord, or the surplus quantity of
    food which would remain to him, after paying the labour, and replacing the
    stock of the farmer, together with its ordinary profits, would necessarily
    be much greater. Whatever was the rate at which labour was commonly
    maintained in that country, this greater surplus could always maintain a
    greater quantity of it, and, consequently, enable the landlord to purchase
    or command a greater quantity of it. The real value of his rent, his real
    power and authority, his command of the necessaries and conveniencies of
    life with which the labour of other people could supply him, would
    necessarily be much greater.

    A rice field produces a much greater quantity of food than the most fertile
    corn field. Two crops in the year, from thirty to sixty bushels each, are
    said to be the ordinary produce of an acre. Though its cultivation,
    therefore, requires more labour, a much greater surplus remains after
    maintaining all that labour. In those rice countries, therefore, where
    rice is the common and favourite vegetable food of the people, and where the
    cultivators are chiefly maintained with it, a greater share of this greater
    surplus should belong to the landlord than in corn countries. In Carolina,
    where the planters, as in other British colonies, are generally both farmers
    and landlords, and where rent, consequently, is confounded with profit,
    the cultivation of rice is found to be more profitable than that of corn,
    though their fields produce only one crop in the year, and though, from the
    prevalence of the customs of Europe, rice is not there the common and
    favourite vegetable food of the people.

    A good rice field is a bog at all seasons, and at one season a bog covered
    with water. It is unfit either for corn, or pasture, or vineyard, or,
    indeed, for any other vegetable produce that is very useful to men ; and the
    lands which are fit for those purposes are not fit for rice. Even in the
    rice countries, therefore, the rent of rice lands cannot regulate the rent
    of the other cuitivated land which can never be turned to that produce.

    The food produced by a field of potatoes is not inferior in quantity to that
    produced by a field of rice, and much superior to what is produced by a
    field of wheat. Twelve thousand weight of potatoes from an acre of land is
    not a greater produce than two thousand weight of wheat. The food or solid
    nourishment, indeed, which can be drawn from each of those two plants, is
    not altogether in proportion to their weight, on account of the watery
    nature of potatoes. Allowing, however, half the weight of this root to go to
    water, a very large allowance, such an acre of potatoes will still produce
    six thousand weight of solid nourishment, three times the quantity produced
    by the acre of wheat. An acre of potatoes is cultivated with less expense
    than an acre of wheat; the fallow, which generally precedes the sowing of
    wheat, more than compensating the hoeing and other extraordinary culture
    which is always given to potatoes. Should this root ever become in any part
    of Europe, like rice in some rice countries, the common and favourite
    vegetable food of the people, so as to occupy the same proportion of the
    lands in tillage, which wheat and other sorts of grain for human food do at
    present, the same quantity of cultivated land would maintain a much greater
    number of people ; and the labourers being generally fed with potatoes, a
    greater surplus would remain after replacing all the stock, and maintaining
    all the labour employed in cultivation. A greater share of this surplus,
    too, would belong to the landlord. Population would increase, and rents
    would rise much beyond what they are at present.

    The land which is fit for potatoes, is fit for almost every other useful
    vegetable. If they occupied the same proportion of cultivated land which
    corn does at present, they would regulate, in the same manner, the rent of
    the greater part of other cultivated land.

    In some parts of Lancashire, it is pretended, I have been told, that bread
    of oatmeal is a heartier food for labouring people than wheaten bread, and 1
    have frequently heard the same doctrine held in Scotland. I am, however,
    somewhat doubtful of the truth of if. The common people in Scotland, who are
    fed with oatmeal, are in general neither so strong nor so handsome as the
    same rank of people in England, who are fed with wheaten bread. They neither
    work so well, nor look so well; and as there is not the same difference
    between the people of fashion in the two countries, experience would seem to
    shew, that the food of the common people in Scotland is not so suitable to
    the human constitution as that of their neighbours of the same rank in
    England. But it seems to be otherwise with potatoes. The chairmen, porters,
    and coal-heavers in London, and those unfortunate women who live by
    prostitution, the strongest men and the most beautiful women perhaps in the
    British dominions, are said to be, the greater part of them, from the lowest
    rank of people in Ireland. who are generally fed with this root. No food can
    afford a more decisive proof of its nourishing quality, or of its being
    peculiarly suitable to the health of the human constitution.

    It is difficult to preserve potatoes through the year, and impossible to
    store them like corn, for two or three years together. The fear of not being
    able to sell them before they rot, discourages their cultivation, and is,
    perhaps, the chief obstacle to their ever becoming in any great country,
    like bread, the principal vegetable food of all the different ranks of the
    people.

    PART II. - Of the Produce of Land, which sometimes does, and sometimes
    does not, afford Rent.

    Human food seems to be the only produce of land, which always and
    necessarily affords some rent to the landlord. Other sorts of produce
    sometimes may, and sometimes may not, according to different circumstances.

    After food, clothing and lodging are the two great wants of mankind.

    Land, in its original rude state, can afford the materials of clothing and
    lodging to a much greater number of people than it can feed. In its improved
    state, it can sometimes feed a greater number of people than it can supply
    with those materials; at least in the way in which they require them, and
    are willing to pay for them. In the one state, therefore, there is always a
    superabundance of these materials, which are frequently, upon that account,
    of little or no value. In the other, there is often a scarcity, which
    necessarily augments their value. In the one state, a great part of them is
    thrown away as useless and the price of what is used is considered as equal
    only to the labour and expense of fitting it for use, and can, therefore,
    afford no rent to the landlord. In the other, they are all made use of, and
    there is frequently a demand for more than can be had. Somebody is always
    willing to give more for every part of them, than what is sufficient to pay
    the expense of bringing them to market. Their price, therefore, can
    always afford some rent to the landlord.

    The skins of the larger animals were the original materials of clothing.
    Among nations of hunters and shepherds, therefore, whose food consists
    chiefly in the flesh of those animals, everyman, by providing himself with
    food, provides himself with the materials of more clothing than he can wear.
    If there was no foreign commerce, the greater part of them would be thrown
    away as things of no value. This was probably the case among the hunting
    nations of North America, before their country was discovered by the
    Europeans, with whom they now exchange their surplus peltry, for blankets,
    fire-arms, and brandy, which gives it some value. In the present commercial
    state of the known world, the most barbarous nations, I believe, among whom
    land property is established, have some foreign commerce of this kind, and
    find among their wealthier neighbours such a demand for all the materials of
    clothing, which their land produces, and which can neither be wrought up nor
    consumed at home, as raises their price above what it costs to send them to
    those wealthier neighbours. It affords, therefore, some rent to the
    landlord. When the greater part of the Highland cattle were consumed on
    their own hills, the exportation of their hides made the most considerable
    article of the commerce of that country, and what they were exchanged for
    afforded some addition to the rent of the Highland estates. The wool of
    England, which in old times, could neither be consumed nor wrought up at
    home, found a market in the then wealthier and more industrious country of
    Flanders, and its price afforded something to the rent of the land which
    produced it. In countries not better cultivated than England was then, or
    than the Highlands of Scotland are now, and which had no foreign commerce,
    the materials of clothing would evidently be so superabundant, that a great
    part of them would be thrown away as useless, and no part could afford any
    rent to the landlord.

    The materials of lodging cannot always be transported to so great a distance
    as those of clothing, and do not so readily become an object of foreign
    commerce. When they are superabundant in the country which produces them, it
    frequently happens, even in the present commercial state of the world, that
    they are of no value to the landlord. A good stone quarry in the
    neighbourhood of London would afford a considerable rent. In many parts of
    Scotland and Wales it affords none. Barren timber for building is of great
    value in a populous and well-cultivated country, and the land which produces
    it affords a considerable rent. But in many parts of North America, the
    landlord would be much obliged to any body who would carry away the greater
    part of his large trees. In some parts of the Highlands of Scotland, the
    bark is the only part of the wood which, for want of roads and
    water-carriage, can be sent to market ; the timber is left to rot upon the
    ground. When the materials of lodging are so superabundant, the part made
    use of is worth only the labour and expense of fitting it for that use. It
    affords no rent to the landlord, who generally grants the use of it to
    whoever takes the trouble of asking it. The demand of wealthier nations,
    however, sometimes enables him to get a rent for it. The paving of the
    streets of London has enabled the owners of some barren rocks on the coast
    of Scotland to draw a rent from what never afforded any before. The woods of
    Norway, and of the coasts of the Baltic, find a market in many parts of
    Great Britain, which they could not find at home, and thereby afford some
    rent to their proprietors.

    Countries are populous, not in proportion to the number of people whom their
    produce can clothe and lodge, but in proportion to that of those whom it can
    feed. When food is provided, it is easy to find the necessary clothing and
    lodging. But though these are at hand, it may often be difficult to find
    food. In some parts of the British dominions, what is called a house may be
    built by one day's labour of one man. The simplest species of clothing, the
    skins of animals, require somewhat more labour to dress and prepare them for
    use. They do not, however, require a great deal. Among savage or barbarous
    nations, a hundredth, or little more than a hundredth part of the labour of
    the whole year, will be sufficient to provide them with such clothing and
    lodging as satisfy the greater part of the people. All the other ninety-nine
    parts are frequently no more than enough to provide them with food.

    But when, by the improvement and cultivation of land, the labour of one
    family can provide food for two, the labour of half the society becomes
    sufficient to provide food for the whole. The other half, therefore, or at
    least the greater part of them, can be employed in providing other things,
    or in satisfying the other wants and fancies of mankind. Clothing and
    lodging, household furniture, and what is called equipage, are the principal
    objects of the greater part of those wants and fancies. The rich man
    consumes no more food than his poor neighbour. In quality it may be very
    different, and to select and prepare it may require more labour and art;
    but in quantity it is very nearly the same. But compare the spacious palace
    and great wardrobe of the one, with the hovel and the few rags of the other,
    and you will be sensible that the difference between their clothing,
    lodging, and household furniture, is almost as great in quantity as it is in
    quality. The desire of food is limited in every man by the narrow capacity
    of the human stomach; but the desire of the conveniencies and ornaments
    of building, dress, equipage, and household furniture, seems to have no limit
    or certain boundary. Those, therefore, who have the command of more food
    than they themselves can consume, are always willing to exchange the
    surplus, or, what is the same thing, the price of it, for gratifications of
    this other kind. What is over and above satisfying the limited desire, is
    given for the amusement of those desires which cannot be satisfied, but seem
    to be altogether endless. The poor, in order to obtain food, exert
    themselves to gratify those fancies of the rich ; and to obtain it more
    certainly, they vie with one another in the cheapness and perfection of
    their work. The number of workmen increases with the increasing quantity of
    food, or with the growing improvement and cultivation of the lands ; and as
    the nature of their business admits of the utmost subdivisions of labour,
    the quantity of materials which they can work up, increases in a much
    greater proportion than their numbers. Hence arises a demand for every sort
    of material which human invention can employ, either usefully or
    ornamentally, in building, dress, equipage, or household furniture ; for the
    fossils and minerals contained in the bowels of the earth, the precious
    metals, and the precious stones.

    Food is, in this manner, not only the original source of rent, but every
    other part of the produce of land which afterwards affords rent, derives
    that part of its value from the improvement of the powers of labour in
    producing food, by means of the improvement and cultivation of land.

    Those other parts of the produce of land, however, which afterwards afford
    rent, do not afford it always. Even in improved and cultivated countries,
    the demand for them is not always such as to afford a greater price than
    what is sufficient to pay the labour, and replace, together with its
    ordinary profits, the stock which must be employed in bringing them to
    market. Whether it is or is not such, depends upon different circumstances.

    Whether a coal mine, for example, can afford any rent, depends partly upon
    its fertility, and partly upon its situation.

    A mine of any kind may be said to be either fertile or barren, according as
    the quantity of mineral which can be brought from it by a certain quantity
    of labour, is greater or less than what can be brought by an equal quantity
    from the greater part of other mines of the same kind.

    Some coal mines, advantageously situated, cannot be wrought on account of
    their barrenness. The produce does not pay the expense. They can afford
    neither profit nor rent.

    There are some, of which the produce is barely sufficient to pay the labour,
    and replace, together with its ordinary profits, the stock employed in
    working them. They afford some profit to the undertaker of the work, but no
    rent to the landlord. They can be wrought advantageously by nobody but the
    landlord, who, being himself the undertaker of the work, gets the ordinary
    profit of the capital which he employs in it. Many coal mines in Scotland
    are wrought in this manner, and can be wrought in no other. The landlord
    will allow nobody else to work them without paying some rent, and nobody can
    afford to pay any.

    Other coal mines in the same country, sufficiently fertile, cannot be
    wrought on account of their situation. A quantity of mineral, sufficient
    to defray the expense of working, could be brought from the mine by the
    ordinary, or even less than the ordinary quantity of labour: but in an
    inland country, thinly inhabited, and without either good roads or
    water-carriage, this quantity could not be sold.

    Coals are a less agreeable fuel than wood : they are said too to be less
    wholesome. The expense of coals, therefore, at the place where they are
    consumed, must generally be somewhat less than that of wood.

    The price of wood, again, varies with the state of agriculture, nearly in
    the same manner, and exactly for the same reason, as the price of cattle. In
    its rude beginnings, the greater part of every country is covered with wood,
    which is then a mere incumbrance, of no value to the landlord, who would
    gladly give it to any body for the cutting. As agriculture advances, the
    woods are partly cleared by the progress of tillage, and partly go to decay
    in consequence of the increased number of cattle. These, though they do not
    increase in the same proportion as corn, which is altogether the acquisition
    of human industry, yet multiply under the care and protection of men, who
    store up in the season of plenty what may maintain them in that of scarcity
    ; who, through the whole year, furnish them with a greater quantity of food
    than uncultivated nature provides for them; and who, by destroying and
    extirpating their enemies, secure them in the free enjoyment of all that she
    provides.Numerous herds of cattle, when allowed to wander through the woods,
    though they do not destroy the old trees, hinder any young ones from coming
    up ; so that, in the course of a century or two, the whole forest goes to
    ruin. The scarcity of wood then raises its price. It affords a good rent ;
    and the landlord sometimes finds that he can scarce employ his best lands
    more advantageously than in growing barren timber, of which the greatness of
    the profit often compensates the lateness of the returns. This seems, in the
    present times, to be nearly the state of things in several parts of Great
    Britain, where the profit of planting is found to be equal to that of either
    corn or pasture. The advantage which the landlord derives from planting can
    nowhere exceed, at least for any considerable time, the rent which these
    could afford him ; and in an inland country, which is highly cuitivated, it
    will frequently not fall much short of this rent. Upon the sea-coast of a
    well-improved country, indeed, if coals can conveniently be had for fuel, it
    may sometimes be cheaper to bring barren timber for building from less
    cultivated foreign countries than to raise it at home. In the new town of
    Edinburgh, built within these few years, there is not, perhaps, a single
    stick of Scotch timber.

    Whatever may be the price of wood, if that of coals is such that the expense
    of a coal fire is nearly equal to that of a wood one we may be assured, that
    at that place, and in these circumstances, the price of coals is as high as
    it can be. It seems to be so in some of the inland parts of England,
    particularly in Oxfordshire, where it is usual, even in the fires of the
    common people, to mix coals and wood together, and where the difference in
    the expense of those two sorts of fuel cannot, therefore, be very great.
    Coals, in the coal countries, are everywhere much below this highest price.
    If they were not, they could not bear the expense of a distant carriage,
    either by land or by water. A small quantity only could be sold; and the
    coal masters and the coal proprietors find it more for their interest to
    sell a great quantity at a price somewhat above the lowest, than a small
    quantity at the highest. The most fertile coal mine, too, regulates the
    price of coals at all the other mines in its neighbourhood. Both the
    proprietor and the undertaker of the work find, the one that he can get a
    greater rent, the other that he can get a greater profit, by somewhat
    underselling all their neighbours. Their neighbours are soon obliged to sell
    at the same price, though they cannot so well afford it, and though it
    always diminishes, and sometimes takes away altogether, both their rent and
    their profit. Some works are abandoned altogether ; others can afford no
    rent, and can be wrought only by the proprietor.

    The lowest price at which coals can be sold for any considerable time, is.
    like that of all other commodities, the price which is barely sufficient to
    replace, together with its ordinary profits, the stock which must be
    employed in bringing them to market. At a coal mine for which the landlord
    can get no rent, but, which he must either work himself or let it alone
    altogether, the price of coals must generally be nearly about this price.

    Rent, even where coals afford one, has generally a smaller share in their
    price than in that of most other parts of the rude produce of land. The rent
    of an estate above ground, commonly amounts to what is supposed to be a
    third of the gross produce; and it is generally a rent certain and
    independent of the occasional variations in the crop. In coal mines, a fifth
    of the gross produce is a very great rent, a tenth the common rent ; and it
    is seldom a rent certain, but depends upon the occasional variations in the
    produce. These are so great, that in a country where thirty years purchase
    is considered as a moderate price for the property of a landed estate, ten
    years purchase is regarded as a good price for that of a coal mine.

    The value of a coal mine to the proprietor, frequently depends as much upon
    its situation as upon its fertility. That of a metallic mine depends more
    upon its fertility, and less upon its situation. The coarse, and still more
    the precious metals, when separated from the ore, are so valuable, that they
    can generally bear the expense of a very long land, and of the most distant
    sea carriage. Their market is not confined to the countries in the
    neighbourhood of the mine, but extends to the whole world. The copper of
    Japan makes an article of commerce in Europe; the iron of Spain in that of
    Chili and Peru. The silver of Peru finds its way, not only to Europe, but
    from Europe to China.

    The price of coals in Westmoreland or Shropshire can have little effect on
    their price at Newcastle ; and their price in the Lionnois can have none at
    all. The productions of such distant coal mines can never be brought into
    competition with one another. But the productions of the most distant
    metallic mines frequently may, and in fact commonly are.

    The price, therefore, of the coarse, and still more that of the precious
    metals, at the most fertile mines in the world, must necessarily more or
    less affect their price at every other in it. The price of copper in Japan
    must have some influence upon its price at the copper mines in Europe. The
    price of silver in Peru, or the quantity either of labour or of other goods
    which it will purchase there, must have some influence on its price, not
    only at the silver mines of Europe, but at those of China. After the
    discovery of the mines of Peru, the silver mines of Europe were, the greater
    part of them, abandoned. The value of silver was so much reduced, that their
    produce could no longer pay the expense of working them, or replace, with a
    profit, the food, clothes, lodging, and other necessaries which were
    consumed in that operation. This was the case, too, with the mines of Cuba
    and St. Domingo, and even with the ancient mines of Peru, after the
    discovery of those of Potosi.

    The price of every metal, at every mine, therefore, being regulated in some
    measure by its price at the most fertile mine in the world that is actually
    wrought, it can, at the greater part of mines, do very little more than pay
    the expense of working, and can seldom afford a very high rent to the
    landlord. Rent accordingly, seems at the greater part of mines to have but a
    small share in the price of the coarse, and a still smaller in that of the
    precious metals. Labour and profit make up the greater part of both.

    A sixth part of the gross produce may be reckoned the average rent of the
    tin mines of Cornwall, the most fertile that are known in the world, as we
    are told by the Rev. Mr. Borlace, vice-warden of the stannaries. Some, he
    says, afford more, and some do not afford so much. A sixth part of the gross
    produce is the rent, too, of several very fertile lead mines in Scotland.

    In the silver mines of Peru, we are told by Frezier and Ulloa, the
    proprietor frequently exacts no other acknowledgment from the undertaker of
    the mine, but that he will grind the ore at his mill, paying him the
    ordinary multure or price of grinding. Till 1736, indeed, the tax of the
    king of Spain amounted to one fifth of the standard silver, which till then
    might be considered as the real rent of the greater part of the silver mines
    of Peru, the richest which have been known in the world. If there had been
    no tax, this fifth would naturally have belonged to the landlord, and many
    mines might have been wrought which could not then be wrought, because they
    could not afford this tax. The tax of the duke of Cornwall upon tin is
    supposed to amount to more than five per cent. or one twentieth part of the
    value ; and whatever may be his proportion, it would naturally, too, belong
    to the proprietor of the mine, if tin was duty free. But if you add one
    twentieth to one sixth, you will find that the whole average rent of the tin
    mines of Cornwall, was to the whole average rent of the silver mines of
    Peru, as thirteen to twelve. But the silver mines of Peru are not now able
    to pay even this low rent; and the tax upon silver was, in 1736, reduced
    from one fifth to one tenth. Even this tax upon silver, too, gives more
    temptation to smuggling than the tax of one twentieth upon tin; and
    smuggling must be much easier in the precious than in the bulky commodity.
    The tax of the king of Spain, accordingly, is said to be very ill paid, and
    that of the duke of Cornwall very well. Rent, therefore, it is probable,
    makes a greater part of the price of tin at the most fertile tin mines than
    it does of silver at the most fertile silver mines in the world. After
    replacing the stock employed in working those different mines, together with
    its ordinary profits, the residue which remains to the proprietor is
    greater, it seems, in the coarse, than in the precious metal.

    Neither are the profits of the undertakers of silver mines commonly very
    great in Peru.The same most respectable and well-informed authors acquaint
    us, that when any person undertakes to work a new mine in Peru, he is
    universally looked upon as a man destined to bankruptcy and ruin, and is
    upon that account shunned and avoided by every body.Mining, it seems, is
    considered there in the same light as here, as a lottery, in which the
    prizes do not compensate the blanks, though the greatness of some tempts
    many adventurers to throw away their fortunes in such unprosperous projects.

    As the sovereign, however, derives a considerable part of his revenue from the produce
    of silver mines, the law in Peru gives every possible encouragement to the
    discovery and working of new ones. Whoever discovers a new mine, is entitled
    to measure off two hundred and forty-six feet in length, according to what
    he supposes to be the direction of the vein, and half as much in breadth. He
    becomes proprietor of this portion of the mine, and can work it without
    paving any acknowledgment to the landlord. The interest of the duke of
    Cornwall has given occasion to a regulation nearly of the same kind in that
    ancient dutchy. In waste and uninclosed lands, any person who discovers a
    tin mine may mark out its limits to a certain extent, which is called
    bounding a mine. The bounder becomes the real proprietor of the mine, and
    may either work it himself, or give it in lease to another, without the
    consent of the owner of the land, to whom, however, a very small
    acknowdedgment must be paid upon working it. In both regulations, the sacred
    rights of private property are sacrificed to the supposed interests of
    public revenue.

    The same encouragement is given in Peru to the discovery and working of new
    gold mines; and in gold the king's tax amounts only to a twentieth part of
    the standard rental. It was once a fifth, and afterwards a tenth, as in
    silver; but it was found that the work could not bear even the lowest of
    these two taxes. If it is rare, however, say the same authors, Frezier and
    Ulloa, to find a person who has made his fortune by a silver, it is still
    much rarer to find one who has done so by a gold mine. This twentieth part
    seems to be the whole rent which is paid by the greater part of the gold
    mines of Chili and Peru. Gold, too, is much more liable to be smuggled than
    even silver; not only on account of the superior value of the metal in
    proportion to its bulk, but on account of the peculiar way in which nature
    produces it. Silver is very seldom found virgin, but, like most other
    metals, is generally mineralized with some other body, from which it is
    impossible to separate it in such quantities as will pay for the expense,
    but by a very laborious and tedious operation, which cannot well be carried
    on but in work-houses erected for the purpose, and, therefore, exposed to
    the inspection of the king's officers. Gold, on the contrary, is almost
    always found virgin. It is sometimes found in pieces of some bulk ; and,
    even when mixed, in small and almost insensible particles, with sand, earth,
    and other extraneous bodies, it can be separated from them by a very short
    and simple operation, which can be carried on in any private house by any
    body who is possessed of a small quantity of mercury. If the king's tax,
    therefore, is but ill paid upon silver, it is likely to be much worse paid
    upon gold; and rent must make a much smaller part of the price of gold than
    that of silver.

    The lowest price at which the precious metals can be sold, or the smallest
    quantity of other goods for which they can be exchanged, during any
    considerable time, is regulated by the same principles which fix the lowest
    ordinary price of all other goods. The stock which must commonly be
    employed, the food, clothes, and lodging, which must commonly be consumed in
    bringing them from the mine to the market, determine it. It must at least be
    sufficient to replace that stock, with the ordinary profits.

    Their highest price, however, seems not to be necessarily determined by any
    thing but the actual scarcity or plenty of these metals themselves. It is
    not determined by that of any other commodity, in the same manner as the
    price of coals is by that of wood, beyond which no scarcity can ever raise
    it. Increase the scarcity of gold to a certain degree, and the smallest bit
    of it may become more precious than a diamond, and exchange for a greater
    quantity of other goods.

    The demand for those metals arises partly from their utility, and partly
    from their beauty. If you except iron, they are more useful than, perhaps,
    any other metal. As they are less liable to rust and impurity, they can more
    easily be kept clean; and the utensils, either of the table or the kitchen,
    are often, upon that account, more agreeable when made of them. A silver
    boiler is more cleanly than a lead, copper, or tin one; and the same quality
    would render a gold boiler still better than a silver one. Their principal
    merit, however, arises from their beauty, which renders them peculiarly fit
    for the ornaments of dress and furniture. No paint or dye can give so
    splendid a colour as gilding. The merit of their beauty is greatly enhanced
    by their scarcity. With the greater part of rich people, the chief enjoyment
    of riches consists in the parade of riches ; which, in their eye, is never
    so complete as when they appear to possess those decisive marks of opulence
    which nobody can possess but themselves. In their eyes, the merit of an
    object, which is in any degree either useful or beautiful, is greatly
    enhanced by its scarcity, or by the great labour which it requires to
    collect any considerable quantity of it; a labour which nobody can afford to
    pay but themselves. Such objects they are willing to purchase at a higher
    price than things much more beautiful and useful, but more common. These
    qualities of utility, beauty, and scarcity, are the original foundation of
    the high price of those metals, or of the great quantity of other goods for
    which they can everywhere be exchanged. This value was antecedent to,
    and independent of their being employed as coin, and was the quality which
    fitted them for that employment. That employment, however, by occasioning a
    new demand, and by diminishing the quantity which could be employed in any
    other way, may have afterwards contributed to keep up or increase their
    value.

    The demand for the precious stones arises altogether from their beauty. They
    are of no use but as ornaments ; and the merit of their beauty is greatly
    enhanced by their scarcity, or by the difficulty and expense of getting them
    from the mine. Wages and profit accordingly make up, upon most occasions,
    almost the whole of the high price. Rent comes in but for a very small
    share, frequently for no share ; and the most fertile mines only afford any
    considerable rent. When Tavernier, a jeweller, visited the diamond mines of
    Golconda and Visiapour, he was informed that the sovereign of the country,
    for whose benefit they were wrought, had ordered all of them to be shut up
    except those which yielded the largest and finest stones. The other, it
    seems, were to the proprietor not worth the working.

    As the prices, both of the precious metals and of the precious stones, is
    regulated all over the world by their price at the most fertile mine in it,
    the rent which a mine of either can afford to its proprietor is in
    proportion, not to its absolute, but to what may be called its relative
    fertility, or to its superiority over other mines of the same kind. If new
    mines were discovered, as much superior to those of Potosi, as they were
    superior to those of Europe, the value of silver might be so much degraded
    as to render even the mines of Potosi not worth the working. Before the
    discovery of the Spanish West Indies, the most fertile mines in Europe may
    have afforded as great a rent to their proprietors as the richest mines in
    Peru do at present. Though the quantity of silver was much less, it might
    have exchanged for an equal quantity of other goods, and the proprietor's
    share might have enabled him to purchase or command an equal quantity either
    of labour or of commodities.

    The value, both of the produce and of the rent, the real revenue which they
    afforded, both to the public and to the proprietor, might have been the
    same.

    The most abundant mines, either of the precious metals, or of the precious
    stones, could add little to the wealth of the world. A produce, of which the
    value is principally derived from its scarcity, is necessarily degraded by
    its abundance. A service of plate, and the other frivolous ornaments of
    dress and furniture, could be purchased for a smaller quantity of
    commodities ; and in this would consist the sole advantage which the world
    could derive from that abundance.

    It is otherwise in estates above ground. The value, both of their produce
    and of their rent, is in proportion to their absolute, and not to their
    relative fertility. The land which produces a certain quantity of food,
    clothes, and lodging, can always feed, clothe, and lodge, a certain number
    of people ; and whatever may be the proportion of the landlord, it will
    always give him a proportionable command of the labour of those people, and
    of the commodities with which that labour can supply him. The value of the
    most barren land is not diminished by the neighbourhood of the most fertile.
    On the contrary, it is generally increased by it. The great number of people
    maintained by the fertile lands afford a market to many parts of the produce
    of the barren, which they could never have found among those whom their own
    produce could maintain.

    Whatever increases the fertility of land in producing food, increases not
    only the value of the lands upon which the improvement is bestowed, but
    contributes likewise to increase that of many other lands, by creating a new
    demand for their produce. That abundance of food, of which, in consequence
    of the improvement of land, many people have the disposal beyond what they
    themselves can consume, is the great cause of the demand, both for the
    precious metals and the precious stones, as well as for every other
    conveniency and ornament of dress, lodging, household furniture, and
    equipage. Food not only constitutes the principal part of the riches of the
    world, but it is the abundance of food which gives the principal part of
    their value to many other sorts of riches. The poor inhabitants of Cuba and
    St. Domingo, when they were first discovered by the Spaniards, used to wear
    little bits of gold as ornaments in their hair and other parts of their
    dress. They seemed to value them as we would do any little pebbles of
    somewhat more than ordinary beauty, and to consider them as just worth the
    picking up, but not worth the refusing to any body who asked them, They gave
    them to their new guests at the first request, without seeming to think that
    they had made them any very valuable present. They were astonished to
    observe the rage of the Spaniards to obtain them; and had no notion that
    there could anywhere be a country in which many people had the disposal of
    so great a superfluity of food; so scanty always among themselves, that, for
    a very small quantity of those glittering baubles, they would willingly give
    as much as might maintain a whole family for many years. Could they have
    been made to understand this, the passion of the Spaniards would not have
    surprised them.

    PART III. ˜ Of the variations in the Proportion between the respective
    Values of that sort of Produce which always affords Rent, and of that which
    sometimes does, and sometimes does not, afford Rent.

    The increasing abundance of food, in consequence of the increasing
    improvement and cultivation, must necessarily increase the demand for every
    part of the produce of land which is not food, and which can be applied
    either to use or to ornament. In the whole progress of improvement, it
    might, therefore, be expected there should be only one variation in the
    comparative values of those two different sorts of produce. The value of
    that sort which sometimes does, and sometimes does not afford rent, should
    constantly rise in proportion to that which always affords some rent. As art
    and industry advance, the materials of clothing and lodging, the useful
    fossils and materials of the earth, the precious metals and the precious
    stones, should gradually come to be more and more in demand, should
    gradually exchange for a greater and a greater quantity of food ; or, in
    other words, should gradually become dearer and dearer. This, accordingly,
    has been the case with most of these things upon most occasions, and would
    have been the case with all of them upon all occasions, if particular
    accidents had not, upon some occasions, increased the supply of some of them
    in a still greater proportion than the demand.

    The value of a free-stone quarry, for example, will necessarily increase
    with the increasing improvement and population of the country round about
    it, especially if it should be the only one in the neighbourhood. But the
    value of a silver mine, even though there should not be another within a
    thousand miles of it, will not necessarily increase with the improvement of
    the country in which it is situated. The market for the produce of a
    free-stone quarry can seldom extend more than a few miles round about it,
    and the demand must generally be in proportion to the improvement and
    population of that small district ; but the market for the produce of a silver
    mine may extend over the whole known world. Unless the world in general.
    therefore, be advancing in improvement and population, the demand for silver
    might not be at all increased by the improvement even of a large country in
    the neighbourhood of the mine. Even though the world in general were
    improving, yet if, in the course of its improvements, new mines should be
    discovered, much more fertile than any which had been known before, though
    the demand for silver would necessarily increase, yet the supply might
    increase in so much a greater proportion, that the real price of that metal
    might gradually fall; that is, any given quantity, a pound weight of it, for
    example, might gradually purchase or command a smaller and a smaller
    quantity of labour, or exchange for a smaller and a smaller quantity of
    corn, the principal part of the subsistence of the labourer.

    The great market for silver is the commercial and civilized part of the
    world.

    If, by the general progress of improvement, the demand of this market should
    increase, while, at the same time, the supply did not increase in the same
    proportion, the value of silver would gradually rise in proportion to that
    of corn. Any given quantity of silver would exchange for a greater and a
    greater quantity of corn ; or, in other words, the average money price of
    corn would gradually become cheaper and cheaper.

    If, on the contrary, the supply, by some accident, should increase, for many
    years together, in a greater proportion than the demand, that metal would
    gradually become cheaper and cheaper; or, in other words, the average money
    price of corn would, in spite of all improvements, gradually become dearer
    and dearer.

    But if, on the other hand, the supply of that metal should increase nearly
    in the same proportion as the demand, it would continue to purchase or
    exchange for nearly the same quantity of corn ; and the average money price
    of corn would, in spite of all improvements. continue very nearly the same.

    These three seem to exhaust all the possible combinations of events which
    can happen in the progress of improvement; and during the course of the four
    centuries preceding the present, if we may judge by what has happened both
    in France and Great Britain, each of those three different combinations
    seems to have taken place in the European market, and nearly in the same
    order, too, in which I have here set them down.

    Digression concerning the Variations in the value of Silver during the
    Course of the Four last Centuries.

    First Period. ˜ In 1350, and for some time before, the average price of the
    quarter of wheat in England seems not to have been estimated lower than four
    ounces of silver, Tower weight, equal to about twenty shillings of our
    present money. From this price it seems to have fallen gradually to two
    ounces of silver, equal to about ten shillings of our present money, the
    price at which we find it estimated in the beginning of the sixteenth
    century, and at which it seems to have continued to be estimated till about
    1570.

    In 1350, being the 25th of Edward III. was enacted what is called the
    Statute of Labourers. In the preamble, it complains much of the insolence of
    servants, who endeavoured to raise their wages upon their masters. It
    therefore ordains, that all servants and labourers should, for the future,
    be contented with the same wages and liveries (liveries in those times
    signified not only clothes, but provisions) which they had been accustomed
    to receive in the 20th year of the king, and the four preceding years; that,
    upon this account, their livery-wheat should nowhere be estimated higher
    than tenpence a-bushel, and that it should always be in the option of the
    master to deliver them either the wheat or the money. Tenpence: a-bushel,
    therefore, had, in the 25th of Edward III. been reckoned a very moderate
    price of wheat, since it required a particular statute to oblige servants to
    accept of it in exchange for their usual livery of provisions ; and it had
    been reckoned a reasonable price ten years before that, or in the 16th year
    of the king, the term to which the statute refers. But in the 16th year of
    Edward III. tenpence contained about half an ounce of silver, Tower weight,
    and was nearly equal to half-a-crown of our present money. Four ounces of
    silver, Tower weight, therefore, equal to six shillings and eightpence of
    the money of those times, and to near twenty shillings of that of the
    present, must have been reckoned a moderate price for the quarter of eight
    bushels.

    This statute is surely a better evidence of what was reckoned, in those
    times, a moderate price of grain, than the prices of some particular years,
    which have generally been recorded by historians and other writers, on
    account of their extraordinary dearness or cheapness, and from which,
    therefore, it is difficult to form any judgment concerning what may have
    been the ordinary price. There are, besides, other reasons for believing
    that, in the beginning of the fourteenth century, and for some time before,
    the common price of wheat was not less than four ounces of silver the
    quarter, and that of other grain in proportion.

    In 1309, Ralph de Born, prior of St Augustine's, Canterbury, gave a feast
    upon his installation-day, of which William Thorn has preserved, not only
    the bill of fare, but the prices of many particulars. In that feast were
    consumed, 1st, fifty-three quarters of wheat, which cost nineteen pounds,
    or seven shillings, and twopence a-quarter, equal to about one-and-twenty
    shillings and sixpence of our present money ; 2dly, fifty-eight quarters of
    malt, which cost seventeen pounds ten shillings, or six shillings a-quarter,
    equal to about eighteen shillings of our present money; 3dly, twenty
    quarters of oats, which cost four pounds, or four shillings a-quarter, equal
    to about twelve shillings of our present money. The prices of malt and oats
    seem here to lie higher than their ordinary proportion to the price of
    wheat.

    These prices are not recorded, on account of their extraordinary dearness or
    cheapness, but are mentioned accidentally, as the prices actually paid for
    large quantities of grain consumed at a feast, which was famous for its
    magnificence.

    In 1262, being the 51st of Henry III. was revived an ancient statute, called
    the assize of bread and ale, which, the king says in the preamble, had been
    made in the times of his progenitors, some time kings of England. It is
    probably, therefore, as old at least as the time of his grandfather, Henry
    II. and may have been as old as the Conquest. It regulates the price of
    bread according as the prices of wheat may happen to be, from one shilling
    to twenty shillings the quarter of the money of those times. But statutes of
    this kind are generally presumed to provide with equal care for all
    deviations from the middle price, for those below it, as well as for those
    above it. Ten shillings, therefore, containing six ounces of silver, Tower
    weight, and equal to about thirty shillings of our present money, must, upon
    this supposition, have been reckoned the middle price of the quarter of
    wheat when this statute was first enacted, and must have continued to be so
    in the 51st of Henry III. We cannot, therefore, be very wrong in supposing
    that the middle price was not less than one-third of the highest price at
    which this statute regulates the price of bread, or than six shillings and
    eightpence of the money of those times, containing four ounces of silver,
    Tower weight.

    From these different facts, therefore, we seem to have some reason to
    conclude that, about the middle of the fourteenth century, and for a
    considerable time before, the average or ordinary price of the quarter of
    wheat was not supposed to be less than four ounces of silver, Tower weight.

    From about the middle of the fourteenth to the beginning of the sixteenth
    century, what was reckoned the reasonable and moderate, that is, the
    ordinary or average price of wheat, seems to have sunk gradually to about
    one half of this price; so as at last to have fallen to about two ounces of
    silver, Tower weight, equal to about ten shillings of our present money. It
    continued to be estimated at this price till about 1570.

    In the household book of Henry, the fifth earl of Northumberland, drawn up
    in 1512 there are two different estimations of wheat. In one of them it is
    computed at six shilling and eightpence the quarter, in the other at five
    shillings and eightpence only. In 1512, six shillings and eightpence
    contained only two ounces of silver, Tower weight, and were equal to about
    ten shillings of our present money.

    From the 25th of Edward III. to the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth,
    during the space of more than two hundred years, six shillings and
    eightpence, it appears from several different statutes, had continued to be
    considered as what is called the moderate and reasonable, that is, the
    ordinary or average price of wheat. The quantity of silver, however,
    contained in that nominal sum was, during the course of this period,
    continually diminishing in consequence of some alterations which were made
    in the coin. But the increase of the value of silver had, it seems, so far
    compensated the diminution of the quantity of it contained in the same
    nominal sum, that the legislature did not think it worth while to attend to
    this circumstance.

    Thus, in 1436, it was enacted, that wheat might be exported without a
    licence when the price was so low as six shillings and eightpence: and in
    1463, it was enacted, that no wheat should be imported if the price was not
    above six shillings and eightpence the quarter: The legislature had
    imagined, that when the price was so low, there could be no inconveniency in
    exportation, but that when it rose higher, it became prudent to allow of
    importation. Six shillings and eightpence, therefore, containing about the
    same quantity of silver as thirteen shillings and fourpence of our present
    money (one-third part less than the same nominal sum contained in the time
    of Edward III), had, in those times, been considered as what is called the
    moderate and reasonable price of wheat.

    In 1554, by the 1st and 2nd of Philip and Mary, and in 1558, by the 1st of
    Elizabeth, the exportation of wheat was in the same manner prohibited,
    whenever the price of the quarter should exceed six shillings and
    eightpence, which did not then contain two penny worth more silver than the
    same nominal sum does at present. But it had soon been found, that to
    restrain the exportation of wheat till the price was so very low, was, in
    reality, to prohibit it altogether. In 1562, therefore, by the 5th of
    Elizabeth, the exportation of wheat was allowed from certain ports, whenever
    the price of the quarter should not exceed ten shillings, containing nearly
    the same quantity of silver as the like nominal sum does at present. This
    price had at this time, therefore, been considered as what is called the
    moderate and reasonable price of wheat. It agrees nearly with the estimation
    of the Northumberland book in 1512.

    That in France the average price of grain was, in the same manner, much
    lower in the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth century,
    than in the two centuries preceding, has been observed both by Mr Dupré de
    St Maur, and by the elegant author of the Essay on the Policy of Grain. Its
    price, during the same period, had probably sunk in the same manner through
    the greater part of Europe.

    This rise in the value of silver, in proportion to that of corn, may either
    have been owing altogether to the increase of the demand for that metal, in
    consequence of increasing improvement and cultivation, the supply, in
    the mean time, continuing the same as before; or, the demand continuing the
    same as before, it may have been owing altogether to the gradual diminution
    of the supply: the greater part of the mines which were then known in the
    world being much exhausted, and, consequently, the expense of working them
    much increased; or it may have been owing partly to the one, and partly to
    the other of those two circumstances. In the end of the fifteenth and
    beginning of the sixteenth centuries, the greater part of Europe was
    approaching towards a more settled from of government than it had enjoyed
    for several ages before. The increase of security would naturally increase
    industry and improvement; and the demand for the precious metals, as well as
    for every other luxury and ornament, would naturally increase with the
    increase of riches. A greater annual produce would require a greater
    quantity of coin to circulate it ; and a greater number of rich people would
    require a greater quantity of plate and other ornaments of silver. It is
    natural to suppose, too, that the greater part of the mines which then
    supplied the European market with silver might be a good deal exhausted, and
    have become more expensive in the working. They had been wrought, many of
    them, from the time of the Romans.

    It has been the opinion, however, of the greater part of those who have
    written upon the prices of commodities in ancient times, that, from the
    Conquest, perhaps from the invasion of Julius Caesar, till the discovery of
    the mines of America, the value of silver was continually diminishing. This
    opinion they seem to have been led into, partly by the observations which
    they had occasion to make upon the prices both of corn and of some other
    parts of the rude produce of land, and partly by the popular notion, that as
    the quantity of silver naturally increases in every country with the
    increase of wealth, so its value diminishes as it quantity increases.

    In their observations upon the prices of corn, three different circumstances
    seem frequently to have misled them.

    First. in ancient times, almost all rents were paid in kind; in a certain
    quantity of corn, cattle, poultry, etc. It sometimes happened, however, that
    the landlord would stipulate, that he should be at liberty to demand of the
    tenant, either the annual payment in kind or a certain sum of money instead
    of it. The price at which the payment in kind was in this manner exchanged
    for a certain sum of money, is in Scotland called the conversion price. As
    the option is always in the landlord to take either the substance or the
    price, it is necessary, for the safety of the tenant, that the conversion
    price should rather be below than above the average market price. In many
    places, accordingly, it is not much above one half of this price. Through
    the greater part of Scotland this custom still continues with regard to
    poultry, and in some places with regard to cattle. It might probably have
    continued to take place, too, with regard to corn, had not the institution
    of the public fiars put an end to it. These are annual valuations, according
    to the judgment of an assize, of the average price of all the different
    sorts of grain, and of all the different qualities of each, according to the
    actual market price in every different county. This institution rendered it
    sufficiently safe for the tenant, and much more convenient for the landlord,
    to convert, as they call it, the corn rent, rather at what should happen to
    be the price of the fiars of each year, than at any certain fixed price. But
    the writers who have collected the prices of corn in ancient times seem
    frequently to have mistaken what is called in Scotland the conversion price
    for the actual market price. Fleetwood acknowledges, upon one occasion, that
    he had made this mistake. As he wrote his book, however, for a particular
    purpose, he does not think proper to make this acknowledgment till after
    transcribing this conversion price fifteen times. The price is eight
    shillings the quarter of wheat. This sum in 1423, the year at which he
    begins with it, contained the same quantity of silver as sixteen shillings
    of our present money. But in 1562, the year at which he ends with it, it
    contained no more than the same nominal sum does at present.

    Secondly, they have been misled by the slovenly manner in which some ancient
    statutes of assize had been sometimes transcribed by lazy copiers, and
    sometimes, perhaps, actually composed by the legislature.

    The ancient statutes of assize seem to have begun always with determining
    what ought to be the price of bread and ale when the price of wheat and
    barley were at the lowest ; and to have proceeded gradually to determine
    what it ought to be, according as the prices of those two sorts of grain
    should gradually rise above this lowest price. But the transcribers of those
    statutes seem frequently to have thought it sufficient to copy the
    regulation as far as the three or four first and lowest prices ; saving in
    this manner their own labour, and judging, I suppose, that this was enough
    to show what proportion ought to be observed in all higher prices.

    Thus, in the assize of bread and ale, of the 51st of Henry III. the price of
    bread was regulated according to the different prices of wheat, from one
    shilling to twenty shillings the quarter of the money of those times. But in
    the manuscripts from which all the different editions of the statutes,
    preceding that of Mr Ruffhead, were printed, the copiers had never
    transcribed this regulation beyond the price of twelve shillings. Several
    writers, therefore, being misled by this faulty transcription, very
    naturally conclude that the middle price, or six shillings the quarter,
    equal to about eighteen shillings of our present money, was the ordinary or
    average price of wheat at that time.

    In the statute of Tumbrel and Pillory, enacted nearly about the same time,
    the price of ale is regulated according to every sixpence rise in the price
    of barley, from two shillings, to four shillings the quarter. That four
    shillings, however, was not considered as the highest price to which barley
    might frequently rise in those times, and that these prices were only given
    as an example of the proportion which ought to be observed in all other
    prices, whether higher or lower, we may infer from the last words of the
    statute: " Et sic deinceps crescetur vel diminuetur per sex denarios." The
    expression is very slovenly, but the meaning is plain enough, " that the
    price of ale is in this manner to be increased or diminished according to
    every sixpence rise or fall in the price of barley." In the composition of
    this statute, the legislature itself seems to have been as negligent as the
    copiers were in the transcription of the other.

    In an ancient manuscript of the Regiam Majestatem, an old Scotch law book,
    there is a statute of assize, in which the price of bread is regulated
    according to all the different prices of wheat, from tenpence to three
    shillings the Scotch boll, equal to about half an English quarter. Three
    shillings Scotch, at the time when this assize is supposed to have been
    enacted, were equal to about nine shillings sterling of our present money Mr
    Ruddiman seems {See his Preface to Anderson's Diplomata Scotiae.} to
    conclude from this, that three shillings was the highest price to which
    wheat ever rose in those times, and that tenpence, a shilling, or at most
    two shillings, were the ordinary prices. Upon consulting the manuscript,
    however, it appears evidently, that all these prices are only set down as
    examples of the proportion which ought to be observed between the respective
    prices of wheat and bread. The last words of the statute are " reliqua
    judicabis secundum praescripta, habendo respectum ad pretium bladi." ˜ " You
    shall judge of the remaining cases, according to what is above written,
    having respect to the price of corn."

    Thirdly, they seem to have been misled too, by the very low price at which
    wheat was sometimes sold in very ancient times ; and to have imagined, that
    as its lowest price was then much lower than in later times its ordinary
    price must likewise have been much lower. They might have found, however,
    that in those ancient times its highest price was fully as much above, as
    its lowest price was below any thing that had ever been known in later
    times. Thus, in 1270, Fleetwood gives us two prices of the quarter of wheat.
    The one is four pounds sixteen shillings of the money of those times, equal
    to fourteen pounds eight shillings of that of the present; the other is six
    pounds eight shillings, equal to nineteen pounds four shillings of our
    present money. No price can be found in the end of the fifteenth, or
    beginning of the sixteenth century, which approaches to the extravagance of
    these. The price of corn, though at all times liable to variation varies
    most in those turbulent and disorderly societies, in which the interruption
    of all commerce and communication hinders the plenty of one part of the
    country from relieving the scarcity of another. In the disorderly state of
    England under the Plantagenets, who governed it from about the middle of the
    twelfth till towards the end of the fifteenth century, one district might be
    in plenty, while another, at no great distance, by having its crop
    destroyed, either by some accident of the seasons, or by the incursion of
    some neighbouring baron, might be suffering all the horrors of a famine; and
    yet if the lands of some hostile lord were interposed between them, the one
    might not be able to give the least assistance to the other. Under the
    vigorous administration of the Tudors, who governed England during the
    latter part of the fifteenth, and through the whole of the sixteenth
    century, no baron was powerful enough to dare to disturb the public
    security.

    The reader will find at the end of this chapter all the prices of wheat
    which have been collected by Fleetwood, from l202 to 1597, both inclusive,
    reduced to the money of the present times, and digested, according to the
    order of time, into seven divisions of twelve years each. At the end of each
    division, too, he will find the average price of the twelve years of which
    it consists. In that long period of time, Fleetwood has been able to collect
    the prices of no more than eighty years ; so that four years are wanting to
    make out the last twelve years. I have added, therefore, from the accounts
    of Eton college, the prices of 1598, 1599, 1600, and 1601. It is the only
    addition which I have made. The reader will see, that from the beginning of
    the thirteenth till after the middle of the sixteenth century, the average
    price of each twelve years grows gradually lower and lower; and that towards
    the end of the sixteenth century it begins to rise again. The prices,
    indeed, which Fleetwood has been able to collect, seem to have been those
    chiefly which were remarkable for extraordinary dearness or cheapness ; and
    I do not pretend that any very certain conclusion can be drawn from them. So
    far, however, as they prove any thing at all, they confirm the account which
    I have been endeavouring to give. Fleetwood himself, however, seems, with
    most other writers, to have believed, that, during all this period, the
    value of silver, in consequence of its increasing abundance, was continually
    diminishing. The prices of corn, which he himself has collected, certainly
    do not agree with this opinion. They agree perfectly with that of Mr Dupré
    de St Maur, and with that which I have been endeavouring to explain. Bishop
    Fleetwood and Mr Dupré de St Maur are the two authors who seem to have
    collected, with the greatest diligence and fidelity, the prices of things in
    ancient times. It is some what curious that, though their opinions are so
    very different, their facts, so far as they relate to the price of corn at
    least, should coincide so very exactly.

    It is not, however, so much from the low price of corn, as from that of some
    other parts of the rude produce of land, that the most judicious writers
    have inferred the great value of silver in those very ancient times. Corn,
    it has been said, being a sort of manufacture, was, in those rude ages, much
    dearer in proportion than the greater part of other commodities; it is
    meant, I suppose, than the greater part of unmanufactured commodities, such
    as cattle, poultry, game of all kinds, etc. That in those times of poverty
    and barbarism these were proportionably much cheaper than corn, is
    undoubtedly true. But this cheapness was not the effect of the high value of
    silver, but of the low value of those commodities. It was not because silver
    would in such times purchase or represent a greater quantity of labour, but
    because such commodities would purchase or represent a much smaller quantity
    than in times of more opulence and improvement. Silver must certainly be
    cheaper in Spanish America than in Europe ; in the country where it is
    produced, than in the country to which it is brought, at the expense of a
    long carriage both by land and by sea, of a freight, and an insurance.
    One-and-twenty pence halfpenny sterling, however, we are told by Ulloa, was,
    not many years ago, at Buenos Ayres, the price of an ox chosen from a herd
    of three or four hundred. Sixteen shillings sterling, we are told by Mr
    Byron, was the price of a good horse in the capital of Chili. In a country
    naturally fertile, but of which the far greater part is altogether
    uncultivated, cattle, poultry, game of all kinds, etc. as they can be
    acquired with a very small quantity of labour, so they will purchase or
    command but a very small quantity. The low money price for which they may be
    sold, is no proof that the real value of silver is there very high, but that
    the real value of those commodities is very low.

    Labour, it must always be remembered, and not any particular commodity, or
    set of commodities, is the real measure of the value both of silver and of
    all other commodities.

    But in countries almost waste, or but thinly inhabited, cattle, poultry,
    game of all kinds, etc. as they are the spontaneous productions of Nature,
    so she frequently produces them in much greater quantities than the
    consumption of the inhabitants requires. In such a state of things, the
    supply commonly exceeds the demand. In different states of society, in
    different states of improvement, therefore, such commodities will represent,
    or be equivalent, to very different quantities of labour.

    In every state of society, in every stage of improvement, corn is the
    production of human industry. But the average produce of every sort of
    industry is always suited, more or less exactly, to the average consumption;
    the average supply to the average demand. In every different stage of
    improvement, besides, the raising of equal quantities of corn in the same
    soil and climate, will, at an average, require nearly equal quantities of
    labour; or, what comes to the same thing, the price of nearly equal
    quantities; the continual increase of the productive powers of labour, in an
    improved state of cultivation, being more or less counterbalanced by the
    continual increasing price of cattle, the principal instruments of
    agriculture. Upon all these accounts, therefore, we may rest assured, that
    equal quantities of corn will, in every state of society, in every stage of
    improvement, more nearly represent, or be equivalent to, equal quantities of
    labour, than equal quantities of any other part of the rude produce of land.
    Corn, accordingly, it has already been observed, is, in all the different
    stages of wealth and improvement, a more accurate measure of value than any
    other commodity or set of commodities. In all those different stages,
    therefore, we can judge better of the real value of silver, by comparing it
    with corn, than by comparing it with any other commodity or set of
    commodities.

    Corn, besides, or whatever else is the common and favourite vegetable food
    of the people, constitutes, in every civilized country, the principal part
    of the subsistence of the labourer. In consequence of the extension of
    agriculture, the land of every country produces a much greater quantity of
    vegetable than of animal food, and the labourer everywhere lives chiefly
    upon the wholesome food that is cheapest and most abundant. Butcher's meat,
    except in the most thriving countries, or where labour is most highly
    rewarded, makes but an insignificant part of his subsistence; poultry makes
    a still smaller part of it, and game no part of it. In France, and even in
    Scotland, where labour is somewhat better rewarded than in France, the
    labouring poor seldom eat butcher's meat, except upon holidays, and other
    extraordinary occasions. The money price of labour, therefore, depends much
    more upon the average money price of corn, the subsistence of the labourer,
    than upon that of butcher's meat, or of any other part of the rude produce
    of land. The real value of gold and silver, therefore, the real quantity of
    labour which they can purchase or command, depends much more upon the
    quantity of corn which they can purchase or command, than upon that of
    butcher's meat, or any other part of the rude produce of land.

    Such slight observations, however, upon the prices either of corn or of
    other commodities, would not probably have misled so many intelligent
    authors, had they not been influenced at the same time by the popular
    notion, that as the quantity of silver naturally increases in every country
    with the increase of wealth, so its value diminishes as its quantity
    increases. This notion, however, seems to be altogether groundless.

    The quantity of the precious metals may increase in any country from two
    different causes ; either, first, from the increased abundance of the mines
    which supply it; or, secondly, from the increased wealth of the people, from
    the increased produce of their annual labour. The first of these causes is
    no doubt necessarily connected with the diminution of the value of the
    precious metals; but the second is not.

    When more abundant mines are discovered, a greater quantity of the precious
    metals is brought to market; and the quantity of the necessaries and
    conveniencies of life for which they must he exchanged being the same as
    before, equal quantities of the metals must be exchanged for smaller
    quantities of commodities. So far, therefore, as the increase of the
    quantity of the precious metals in any country arises from the increased
    abundance of the mines, it is necessarily connected with some diminution of
    their value.

    When, on the contrary, the wealth of any country increases, when the annual
    produce of its labour becomes gradually greater and greater, a greater
    quantity of coin becomes necessary in order to circulate a greater quantity
    of commodities: and the people, as they can afford it, as they have more
    commodities to give for it, will naturally purchase a greater and a greater
    quantity of plate. The quantity of their coin will increase from necessity;
    the quantity of their plate from vanity and ostentation, or from the same
    reason that the quantity of fine statues, pictures, and of every other
    luxury and curiosity, is likely to increase among them. But as statuaries
    and painters are not likely to be worse rewarded in times of wealth and
    prosperity, than in times of poverty and depression, so gold and silver are
    not likely to be worse paid for.

    The price of gold and silver, when the accidental discovery of more abundant
    mines does not keep it down, as it naturally rises with the wealth of every
    country; so, whatever be the state of the mines, it is at all times
    naturally higher in a rich than in a poor country. Gold and silver, like all
    other commodities, naturally seek the market where the best price is given
    for them, and the best price is commonly given for every thing in the
    country which can best afford it. Labour, it must be remembered, is the
    ultimate price which is paid for every thing; and in countries where labour
    is equally well rewarded, the money price of labour will be in proportion to
    that of the subsistence of the labourer. But gold and silver will naturally
    exchange for a greater quantity of subsistence in a rich than in a poor
    country ; in a country which abounds with subsistence, than in one which is
    but indifferently supplied with it. If the two countries are at a great
    distance, the difference may be very great; because, though the metals
    naturally fly from the worse to the better market, yet it may be difficult
    to transport them in such quantities as to bring their price nearly to a
    level in both. If the countries are near, the difference will be smaller,
    and may sometimes be scarce perceptible ; because in this case the
    transportation will be easy. China is a much richer country than any part of
    Europe, and the difference between the price of subsistence in China and in
    Europe is very great. Rice in China is much cheaper than wheat is any where
    in Europe. England is a much richer country than Scotland, but the
    difference between the money price of corn in those two countries is much
    smaller, and is but just perceptible. In proportion to the quantity or
    measure, Scotch corn generally appears to be a good deal cheaper than
    English; but, in proportion to its quality, it is certainly somewhat dearer.
    Scotland receives almost every year very large supplies from England, and
    every commodity must commonly be somewhat dearer in the country to which it
    is brought than in that from which it comes. English corn, therefore, must
    be dearer in Scotland than in England ; and yet in proportion to its
    quality, or to the quantity and goodness of the flour or meal which can be
    made from it, it cannot commonly be sold higher there than the Scotch corn
    which comes to market in competition with it.

    The difference between the money price of labour in China and in Europe, is
    still greater than that between the money price of subsistence; because the
    real recompence of labour is higher in Europe than in China, the greater
    part of Europe being in an improving state, while China seems to be standing
    still. The money price of labour is lower in Scotland than in England,
    because the real recompence of labour is much lower: Scotland, though
    advancing to greater wealth, advances much more slowly than England. The
    frequency of emigration from Scotland, and the rarity of it from England,
    sufficiently prove that the demand for labour is very different in the two
    countries. The proportion between the real recompence of labour in different
    countries, it must be remembered, is naturally regulated, not by their
    actual wealth or poverty, but by their advancing, stationary, or declining
    condition.

    Gold and silver, as they are naturally of the greatest value among the
    richest, so they are naturally of the least value among the poorest nations.
    Among savages, the poorest of all nations, they are scarce of any value.

    In great towns, corn is always dearer than in remote parts of the country.
    This, however, is the effect, not of the real cheapness of silver, but of
    the real dearness of corn. It does not cost less labour to bring silver to
    the great town than to the remote parts of the country; but it costs a great
    deal more to bring corn.

    In some very rich and commercial countries, such as Holland and the
    territory of Genoa, corn is dear for the same reason that it is dear in
    great towns. They do not produce enough to maintain their inhabitants. They
    are rich in the industry and skill of their artificers and manufacturers, in
    every sort of machinery which can facilitate and abridge labour; in
    shipping, and in all the other instruments and means of carriage and
    commerce: but they are poor in corn, which, as it must be brought to them
    from distant countries, must, by an addition to its price, pay for the
    carriage from those countries. It does not cost less labour to bring silver
    to Amsterdam than to Dantzic ; but it costs a great deal more to bring corn.
    The real cost of silver must be nearly the same in both places ; but that of
    corn must be very different. Diminish the real opulence either of Holland or
    of the territory of Genoa, while the number of their inhabitants remains the
    same ; diminish their power of supplying themselves from distant countries;
    and the price of corn, instead of sinking with that diminution in the
    quantity of their silver, which must necessarily accompany this declension,
    either as its cause or as its effect, will rise to the price of a famine.
    When we are in want of necessaries, we must part with all superfluities, of
    which the value, as it rises in times of opulence and prosperity, so it
    sinks in times of poverty and distress. It is otherwise with necessaries.
    Their real price, the quantity of labour which they can purchase or command,
    rises in times of poverty and distress, and sinks in times of opulence and
    prosperity, which are always times of great abundance ; for they could not
    otherwise be times of opulence and prosperity.Corn is a necessary, silver is
    only a superfluity.

    Whatever, therefore, may have been the increase in the quantity of the
    precious metals, which, during the period between the middle of the
    fourteenth and that of the sixteenth century, arose from the increase of
    wealth and improvement, it could have no tendency to diminish their value,
    either in Great Britain, or in my other part of Europe. If those who have
    collected the prices of things in ancient times, therefore, had, during this
    period, no reason to infer the diminution of the value of silver from any
    observations which they had made upon the prices either of corn, or of
    other commodities, they had still less reason to infer it from any supposed
    increase of wealth and improvement.

    Second Period. ˜ But how various soever may have been the opinions of the
    learned concerning the progress of the value of silver during the first
    period, they are unanimous concerning it during the second.

    From about 1570 to about 1640, during a period of about seventy years, the
    variation in the proportion between the value of silver and that of corn
    held a quite opposite course. Silver sunk in its real value, or would
    exchange for a smaller quantity of labour than before; and corn rose in its
    nominal price, and, instead of being commonly sold for about two ounces of
    silver the quarter, or about ten shillings of our present money, came to be
    sold for six and eight ounces of silver the quarter, or about thirty and
    forty shillings of our present money.

    The discovery of the abundant mines of America seems to have been the sole
    cause of this diminution in the value of silver, in proportion to that of
    corn. It is accounted for, accordingly, in the same manner by every body ;
    and there never has been any dispute, either about the fact, or about the
    cause of it. The greater part of Europe was, during this period, advancing
    in industry and improvement, and the demand for silver must consequently
    have been increasing; but the increase of the supply had, it seems, so far
    exceeded that of the demand, that the value of that metal sunk considerably.
    The discovery of the mines of America, it is to be observed, does not seem
    to have had any very sensible effect upon the prices of things in England
    till after 1570; though even the mines of Potosi had been discovered more
    than twenty years before.

    From 1595 to 1620, both inclusive, the average price of the quarter of nine
    bushels of the best wheat, at Windsor market, appears, from the accounts of
    Eton college, to have been £ 2:1:6 9/13. From which sum, neglecting the
    fraction, and deducting a ninth, or 4s. 7 1/3d., the price of the quarter of
    eight bushels comes out to have been £ 1:16:10 2/3. And from this sum,
    neglecting likewise the fraction, and deducting a ninth, or 4s. 1 1/9d., for
    the difference between the price of the best wheat and that of the middle
    wheat, the price of the middle wheat comes out to have been about £ 1:12:8
    8/9, or about six ounces and one-third of an ounce of silver.

    From 1621 to 1636, both inclusive, the average price of the same measure of
    the best wheat, at the same market, appears, from the same accounts, to have
    been £ 2:10s.; from which, making the like deductions as in the foregoing
    case, the average price of the quarter of eight bushels of middle wheat comes
    out to have been £ 1:19:6, or about seven ounces and two-thirds of an ounce
    of silver.

    Third Period. - Between 1630 and 1640, or about 1636, the effect of the
    discovery of the mines of America, in reducing the value of silver, appears
    to have been completed, and the value of that metal seems never to have sunk
    lower in proportion to that of corn than it was about that time. It seems to
    have risen somewhat in the course of the present century, and it had
    probably begun to do so, even some time before the end of the last.

    From 1637 to 1700, both inclusive, being the sixty-four last years of the
    last century the average price of the quarter of nine bushels of the best
    wheat, at Windsor market, appears, from the same accounts, to have been £
    2:11:0 1/3, which is only 1s. 0 1/3d. dearer than it had been during the
    sixteen years before. But, in the course of these sixty-four years, there
    happened two events, which must have produced a much greater scarcity of
    corn than what the course of the season is would otherwise have occasioned,
    and which, therefore, without supposing any further reduction in the value
    of silver, will much more than account for this very small enhancement of
    price.

    The first of these events was the civil war, which, by discouraging tillage
    and interrupting commerce, must have raised the price of corn much above
    what the course of the seasons would otherwise have occasioned. It must have
    had this effect, more or less, at all the different markets in the kingdom,
    but particularly at those in the neighbourhood of London, which require to
    be supplied from the greatest distance. In 1648, accordingly, the price of
    the best wheat, at Windsor market, appears, from the same accounts, to have
    been £ 4:5s., and, in 1649, to have been £ 4, the quarter of nine bushels.
    The excess of those two years above £ 2:10s. (the average price of the
    sixteen years preceding 1637 is £ 3:5s., which, divided among the sixty four
    last years of the last century, will alone very nearly account for that
    small enhancement of price which seems to have taken place in them. These,
    however, though the highest, are by no means the only high prices which seem
    to have been occasioned by the civil wars.

    The second event was the bounty upon the exportation of corn, granted in
    1688. The bounty, it has been thought by many people, by encouraging
    tillage, may, in a long course of years, have occasioned a greater
    abundance, and, consequently, a greater cheapness of corn in the home
    market, than what would otherwise have taken place there. How far the bounty
    could produce this effect at any time I shall examine hereafter: I shall
    only observe at present, that between 1688 and 1700, it had not time to
    produce any such effect. During this short period, its only effect must have
    been, by encouraging the exportation of the surplus produce of every year,
    and thereby hindering the abundance of one year from compensating the
    scarcity of another, to raise the price in the home market. The scarcity
    which prevailed in England, from 1693 to 1699, both inclusive, though no
    doubt principally owing to the badness of the seasons, and, therefore,
    extending through a considerable part of Europe, must have been somewhat
    enhanced by the bounty. In 1699, accordingly, the further exportation of
    corn was prohibited for nine months.

    There was a third event which occurred in the course of the same period, and
    which, though it could not occasion any scarcity of corn, nor, perhaps, any
    augmentation in the real quantity of silver which was usually paid for it,
    must necessarily have occasioned some augmetation in the nominal sum. This
    event was the great debasement of the silver coin, by clipping and wearing.
    This evil had begun in the reign of Charles II. and had gone on continually
    increasing till 1695; at which time, as we may learn from Mr Lowndes, the
    current silver coin was, at an average, near five-and-twenty per cent. below
    its standard value. But the nominal sum which constitutes the market price
    of every commodity is necessarily regulated, not so much by the quantity of
    silver, which, according to the standard, ought to be contained in it, as by
    that which, it is found by experience, actually is contained in it. This
    nominal sum, therefore, is necessarily higher when the coin is much debased
    by clipping and wearing, than when near to its standard value.

    In the course of the present century, the silver coin has not at any time
    been more below its standard weight than it is at present. But though very
    much defaced, its value has been kept up by that of the gold coin, for which
    it is exchanged. For though, before the late recoinage, the gold coin was a
    good deal defaced too, it was less so than the silver. In 1695, on the
    contrary, the value of the silver coin was not kept up by the gold coin; a
    guinea then commonly exchanging for thirty shillings of the worn and clipt
    silver. Before the late recoinage of the gold, the price of silver bullion
    was seldom higher than five shillings and sevenpence an ounce, which is but
    fivepence above the mint price. But in 1695, the common price of silver
    bullion was six shillings and fivepence an ounce, {Lowndes's Essay on the
    Silver Coin, 68.} which is fifteen pence above the mint price. Even before
    the late recoinage of the gold, therefore, the coin, gold and silver
    together, when compared with silver bullion, was not supposed to be more
    than eight per cent. below its standard value, In 1695, on the contrary, it
    had been supposed to be near five-and-twenty per cent. below that value. But
    in the beginning of the present century, that is, immediately after the
    great recoinage in King William's time, the greater part of the current
    silver coin must have been still nearer to its standard weight than it is at
    present. In the course of the present century, too, there has been no great
    public calamity, such as a civil war, which could either discourage tillage,
    or interrupt the interior commerce of the country. And though the bounty
    which has taken place through the greater part of this century, must always
    raise the price of corn somewhat higher than it otherwise would be in the
    actual state of tillage ; yet, as in the course of this century, the bounty
    has had full time to produce all the good effects commonly imputed to it to
    encourage tillage, and thereby to increase the quantity of corn in the home
    market, it may, upon the principles of a system which I shall explain and
    examine hereafter, be supposed to have done something to lower the price of
    that commodity the one way, as well as to raise it the other. It is by many
    people supposed to have done more. In the sixty-four years of the present
    century, accordingly, the average price of the quarter of nine bushels of
    the best wheat, at Windsor market, appears, by the accounts of Eton college,
    to have been £ 2:0:6 10/32, which is about ten shillings and sixpence, or
    more than five-and-twenty percent. cheaper than it had been during the
    sixty-four last years of the last century; and about nine shillings and
    sixpence cheaper than it had been during the sixteen years preceding 1636,
    when the discovery of the abundant mines of America may be supposed to have
    produced its full effect ; and about one shilling cheaper than it had been
    in the twenty-six years preceding 1620, before that discovery can well be
    supposed to have produced its full effect. According to this account, the
    average price of middle wheat, during these sixty-four first years of the
    present century, comes out to have been about thirty-two shillings the
    quarter of eight bushels.

    The value of silver, therefore, seems to have risen somewhat in proportion
    to that of corn during the course of the present century, and it had
    probably begun to do so even some time before the end of the last.

    In 1687, the price of the quarter of nine bushels of the best wheat, at
    Windsor market, was £ 1:5:2, the lowest price at which it had ever been from
    1595.

    In 1688, Mr Gregory King, a man famous for his knowledge in matters of this
    kind, estimated the average price of wheat, in years of moderate plenty, to
    be to the grower 3s. 6d. the bushel, or eight-and-twenty shillings the
    quarter. The grower's price I understand to be the same with what is
    sometimes called the contract price, or the price at which a farmer
    contracts for a certain number of years to deliver a certain quantity of
    corn to a dealer. As a contract of this kind saves the farmer the expense
    and trouble of marketing, the contract price is generally lower than what is
    supposed to be the average market price. Mr King had judged eight-and-twenty
    shillings the quarter to be at that time the ordinary contract price in
    years of moderate plenty. Before the scarcity occasioned by the late
    extraordinary course of bad seasons, it was, I have been assured, the
    ordinary contract price in all common years.

    In 1688 was granted the parliamentary bounty upon the exportation of corn.
    The country gentlemen, who then composed a still greater proportion of the
    legislature than they do at present, had felt that the money price of corn
    was falling. The bounty was an expedient to raise it artificially to the
    high price at which it had frequently been sold in the times of Charles I.
    and II. It was to take place, therefore, till wheat was so high as
    fortyeight shillings the quarter; that is, twenty shillings, or 5-7ths
    dearer than Mr King had, in that very year, estimated the grower's price to
    be in times of moderate plenty. If his calculations deserve any part of the
    reputation which they have obtained very universally, eight-and-forty
    shillings the quarter was a price which, without some such expedient as the
    bounty, could not at that time be expected, except in years of extraordinary
    scarcity. But the government of King William was not then fully settled. It
    was in no condition to refuse anything to the country gentlemen, from whom
    it was, at that very time, soliciting the first establishment of the annual
    land-tax,

    The value of silver, therefore, in proportion to that of corn, had probably
    risen somewhat before the end of the last century; and it seems to have
    continued to do so during the course of the greater part of the present,
    though the necessary operation of the bounty must have hindered that rise
    from being so sensible as it otherwise would have been in the actual state
    of tillage.

    In plentiful years, the bounty, by occasioning an extraordinary exportation,
    necessarily raises the price of corn above what it otherwise would be in
    those years. To encourage tillage, by keeping up the price of corn, even in
    the most plentiful years, was the avowed end of the institution.

    In years of great scarcity, indeed, the bounty has generally been suspended.
    It must, however, have had some effect upon the prices of many of those
    years. By the extraordinary exportation which it occasions in years of
    plenty, it must frequently hinder the plenty of one year from compensating
    the scarcity of another.

    Both in years of plenty and in years of scarcity, therefore, the bounty
    raises the price of corn above what it naturally would be in the actual
    state of tillage. If during the sixty-four first years of the present
    century, therefore, the average price has been lower than during the
    sixty-four last years of the last century, it must, in the same state of
    tillage, have been much more so, had it not been for this operation of the
    bounty.

    But, without the bounty, it may be said the state of tillage would not have
    been the same. What may have been the effects of this institution upon the
    agriculture of the country, I shall endeavour to explain hereafter, when I
    come to treat particularly of bounties. I shall only observe at present,
    that this rise in the value of silver, in proportion to that of corn, has
    not been peculiar to England. It has been observed to have taken place in
    France during the same period, and nearly in the same proportion, too, by
    three very faithful, diligent, and laborious collectors of the prices of
    corn, Mr Dupré de St Maur, Mr Messance, and the author of the Essay on the
    Police of Grain. But in France, till 1764, the exportation of grain was by
    law prohibited ; and it is somewhat difficult to suppose, that nearly the
    same diminution of price which took place in one country, notwithstanding
    this prohibition. should, in another, be owing to the extraordinary
    encouragement given to exportation.

    It would be more proper, perhaps, to consider this variation in the average
    money price of corn as the effect rather of some gradual rise in the real
    value of silver in the European market, than of any fall in the real average
    value of corn. Corn, it has already been observed, is, at distant periods of
    time, a more accurate measure of value than either silver or, perhaps, any
    other commodity. When, after the discovery of the abundant mines of America,
    corn rose to three and four times its former money price, this change was
    universally ascribed, not to any rise in the real value of corn, but to a
    fall in the real value of silver. If, during the sixty-four first years of
    the present century, therefore, the average money price of corn has fallen
    somewhat below what it had been during the greater part of the last century,
    we should, in the same manner, impute this change, not to any fall in the
    real value of corn, but to some rise in the real value of silver in the
    European market.

    The high price of corn during these ten or twelve years past, indeed, has
    occasioned a suspicion that the real value of silver still continues to fall
    in the European market. This high price of corn, however. seems evidently to
    have been the effect of the extraordinary unfavourableness of the seasons,
    and ought, therefore, to be regarded, not as a permanent, but as a
    transitory and occasional event. The seasons, for these ten or twelve years
    past, have been unfavourable through the greater part of Europe; and the
    disorders of Poland have very much increased the scarcity in all those
    countries, which, in dear years, used to be supplied from that market. So
    long a course of bad seasons, though not a very common event, is by no means
    a singular one; and whoever has inquired much into the history of the prices
    of corn in former times, will be at no loss to recollect several other
    examples of the same kind. Ten years of extraordinary scarcity, besides, are
    not more wonderful than ten years of extraordinary plenty. The low price of
    corn, from 1741 to 1750, both inclusive, may very well be set in opposition
    to its high price during these last eight or ten years. From 1741 to 1750,
    the average price of the quarter of nine bushels of the best wheat, at
    Windsor market, it appears from the accounts of Eton college, was only £
    1:13:9 4/5, which is nearly 6s.3d. below the average price of the sixty-four
    first years of the present century. The average price of the quarter of
    eight bushels of middle wheat comes out, according to this account, to have
    been, during these ten years, only £ 1:6:8.

    Between 1741 and 1750, however, the bounty must have hindered the price of
    corn from falling so low in the home market as it naturally would have done.
    During these ten years, the quantity of all sorts of grain exported, it
    appears from the custom-house books, amounted to no less than 8,029,156
    quarters, one bushel. The bounty paid for this amounted to £ 1,514,962:17:4
    1/2. In 1749, accordingly, Mr Pelham, at that time prime minister, observed
    to the house of commons, that, for the three years preceding, a very
    extraordinary sum had been paid as bounty for the exportation of corn. He
    had good reason to make this observation, and in the following year he might
    have had still better. In that single year, the bounty paid amounted to no
    less than £ 324,176:10:6. {See Tracts on the Corn Trade, Tract 3,} It is
    unnecessary to observe how much this forced exportation must have raised the
    price of corn above what it otherwise would have been in the home market.

    At the end of the accounts annexed to this chapter the reader will find the
    particular account of those ten years separated from the rest. He will find
    there, too, the particular account of the preceding ten years, of which the
    average is likewise below, though not so much below, the general average of
    the sixty-four first years of the century. The year 1740, however, was a
    year of extraordinary scarcity. These twenty years preceding 1750 may very
    well be set in opposition to the twenty preceding 1770. As the former were a
    good deal below the general average of the century, notwithstanding the
    intervention of one or two dear years; so the latter have been a good deal
    above it, notwithstanding the intervention of one or two cheap ones, of
    1759, for example. If the former have not been as much below the general
    average as the latter have been above it, we ought probably to impute it to
    the bounty. The change has evidently been too sudden to he ascribed to any
    change in the value of silver, which is always slow and gradual. The
    suddenness of the effect can be accounted for only by a cause which can
    operate suddenly, the accidental variations of the seasons.

    The money price of labour in Great Britain has, indeed, risen during the
    course of the present century. This, however, seems to be the effect, not so
    much of any diminution in the value of silver in the European market, as of
    an increase in the demand for labour in Great Britain, arising from the
    great, and almost universal prosperity of the country. In France, a country
    not altogether so prosperous, the money price of labour has, since the
    middle of the last century, been observed to sink gradually with the average
    money price of corn. Both in the last century and in the present, the day
    wages of common labour are there said to have been pretty uniformly about
    the twentieth part of the average price of the septier of wheat ; a measure
    which contains a little more than four Winchester bushels. In Great Britain,
    the real recompence of labour, it has already been shewn, the real
    quantities of the necessaries and conveniencies of life which are given to
    the labourer, has increased considerably during the course of the present
    century. The rise in its money price seems to have been the effect, not of
    any diminution of the value of silver in the general market of Europe, but
    of a rise in the real price of labour, in the particular market of Great
    Britain, owing to the peculiarly happy circumstances of the country.

    For some time after the first discovery of America, silver would continue to
    sell at its former, or not much below its former price. The profits of
    mining would for some time be very great, and much above their natural rate.
    Those who imported that metal into Europe, however, would soon find that the
    whole annual importation could not be disposed of at this high price. Silver
    would gradually exchange for a smaller and a smaller quantity of goods. Its
    price would sink gradually lower and lower, till it fell to its natural
    price ; or to what was just sufficient to pay, according to their natural
    rates, the wages of the labour, the profits of the stock, and the rent of
    the land, which must be paid in order to bring it from the mine to the
    market. In the greater part of the silver mines of Peru, the tax of the king
    of Spain, amounting to a tenth of the gross produce, eats up, it has already
    been observed, the whole rent of the land. This tax was originally a half;
    it soon afterwards fell to a third, then to a fifth, and at last to a tenth,
    at which late it still continues. In the greater part of the silver mines of
    Peru, this, it seems, is all that remains, after replacing the stock of the
    undertaker of the work, together with its ordinary profits ; and it seems to
    be universally acknowledged that these profits, which were once very high,
    are now as low as they can well be, consistently with carrying on the works.

    The tax of the king of Spain was reduced to a fifth of the registered silver
    in 1504 {Solorzano, vol, ii.}, one-and-forty years before 1545, the date of
    the discovery of the mines of Potosi. In the course of ninety years, or
    before 1636, these mines, the most fertile in all America, had time
    sufficient to produce their full effect, or to reduce the value of silver in
    the European market as low as it could well fall, while it continued to pay
    this tax to the king of Spain. Ninety years is time sufficient to reduce any
    commodity, of which there is no monopoly, to its natural price, or to the
    lowest price at which, while it pays a particular tax, it can continue to be
    sold for any considerable time together.

    The price of silver in the European market might, perhaps, have fallen still
    lower, and it might have become necessary either to reduce the tax upon it,
    not only to one-tenth, as in 1736, but to one twentieth, in the same manner
    as that upon gold, or to give up working the greater part of the American
    mines which are now wrought. The gradual increase of the demand for silver,
    or the gradual enlargement of the market for the produce of the silver mines
    of America, is probably the cause which has prevented this from happening,
    and which has not only kept up the value of silver in the European market,
    but has perhaps even raised it somewhat higher than it was about the middle
    of the last century.

    Since the first discovery of America, the market for the produce of its
    silver mines has been growing gradually more and more extensive.

    First, the market of Europe has become gradually more and more extensive.
    Since the discovery of America, the greater part of Europe has been much
    improved. England, Holland, France, and Germany; even Sweden, Denmark, and
    Russia, have all advanced considerably, both in agriculture and in
    manufactures. Italy seems not to have gone backwards. The fall of Italy
    preceded the conquest of Peru. Since that time it seems rather to have
    recovered a little. Spain and Portugal, indeed, are supposed to have gone
    backwards. Portugal, however, is but a very small part of Europe, and the
    declension of Spain is not, perhaps, so great as is commonly imagined. In the
    beginning of the sixteenth century, Spain was a very poor country, even in
    comparison with France, which has been so much improved since that time. It
    was the well known remark of the emperor Charles V. who had travelled so
    frequently through both countries, that every thing abounded in France, but
    that every thing was wanting in Spain. The increasing produce of the
    agriculture and manufactures of Europe must necessarily have required a
    gradual increase in the quantity of silver coin to circulate it ; and the
    increasing number of wealthy individuals must have required the like
    increase in the quantity of their plate and other ornaments of silver.

    Secondly, America is itself a new market, for the produce of its own silver
    mines; and as its advances in agriculture, industry, and population, are
    much more rapid than those of the most thriving countries in Europe, its
    demand must increase much more rapidly. The English colonies are altogether
    a new market, which, partly for coin, and partly for plate, requires a
    continual augmenting supply of silver through a great continent where there
    never was any demand before. The greater part, too, of the Spanish and
    Portuguese colonies, are altogether new markets. New Granada, the Yucatan,
    Paraguay, and the Brazils, were, before discovered by the Europeans,
    inhabited by savage nations, who had neither arts nor agriculture. A
    considerable degree of both has now been introduced into all of them. Even
    Mexico and Peru, though they cannot be considered as altogether new markets,
    are certainly much more extensive ones than they ever were before. After all
    the wonderful tales which have been published concerning the splendid state
    of those countries in ancient times, whoever reads, with any degree of sober
    judgment, the history of their first discovery and conquest, will evidently
    discern that, in arts, agriculture, and commerce, their inhabitants were
    much more ignorant than the Tartars of the Ukraine are at present. Even the
    Peruvians, the more civilized nation of the two, though they made use of
    gold and silver as ornaments, had no coined money of any kind. Their whole
    commerce was carried on by barter, and there was accordingly scarce any
    division of labour among them. Those who cultivated the ground, were obliged
    to build their own houses, to make their own household furniture, their own
    clothes, shoes, and instruments of agriculture. The few artificers among
    them are said to have been all maintained by the sovereign, the nobles, and
    the priests, and were probably their servants or slaves. All the ancient
    arts of Mexico and Peru have never furnished one single manufacture to
    Europe. The Spanish armies, though they scarce ever exceeded five hundred
    men, and frequently did not amount to half that number, found almost
    everywhere great difficulty in procuring subsistence. The famines which they
    are said to have occasioned almost wherever they went, in countries, too,
    which at the same time are represented as very populous and well cultivated,
    sufficiently demonstrate that the story of this populousness and high
    cultivation is in a great measure fabulous. The Spanish colonies are under a
    government in many respects less favourable to agriculture, improvement, and
    population, than that of the English colonies. They seem, however, to be
    advancing in all those much more rapidly than any country in Europe. In a
    fertile soil and happy climate, the great abundance and cheapness of land, a
    circumstance common to all new colonies, is, it seems, so great an
    advantage, as to compensate many defects in civil government. Frezier, who
    visited Peru in 1713, represents Lima as containing between twenty-five and
    twenty-eight thousand inhabitants. Ulloa, who resided in the same country
    between 1740 and 1746, represents it as containing more than fifty thousand.
    The difference in their accounts of the populousness of several other
    principal towns of Chili and Peru is nearly the same ; and as there seems to
    be no reason to doubt of the good information of either, it marks an
    increase which is scarce inferior to that of the English colonies. America,
    therefore, is a new market for the produce of its own silver mines, of which
    the demand must increase much more rapidly than that of the most thriving
    country in Europe.

    Thirdly, the East Indies is another market for the produce of the silver
    mines of America, and a market which, from the time of the first discovery
    of those mines, has been continually taking off a greater and a greater
    quantity of silver. Since that time, the direct trade between America and
    the East Indies, which is carried on by means of the Acapulco ships, has
    been continually augmenting, and the indirect intercourse by the way of
    Europe has been augmenting in a still greater proportion. During the
    sixteenth century, the Portuguese were the only European nation who carried
    on any regular trade to the East Indies. In the last years of that century,
    the Dutch began to encroach upon this monopoly, and in a few years expelled
    them from their principal settlements in India. During the greater part of
    the last century, those two nations divided the most considerable part of
    the East India trade between them; the trade of the Dutch continually
    augmenting in a still greater proportion than that of the Portuguese
    declined. The English and French carried on some trade with India in the
    last century, but it has been greatly augmented in the course of the
    present. The East India trade of the Swedes and Danes began in the course of
    the present century. Even the Muscovites now trade regularly with China, by
    a sort of caravans which go over land through Siberia and Tartary to Pekin.
    The East India trade of all these nations, if we except that of the French,
    which the last war had well nigh annihilated, has been almost continually
    augmenting. The increasing consumptions of East India goods in Europe is, it
    seems, so great, as to afford a gradual increase of employment to them all.
    Tea, for example, was a drug very little used in Europe, before the middle
    of the last century. At present, the value of the tea annually imported by
    the English East India company, for the use of their own countrymen, amounts
    to more than a million and a half a year; and even this is not enough; a
    great deal more being constantly smuggled into the country from the ports of
    Holland, from Gottenburgh in Sweden, and from the coast of France, too, as
    long as the French East India company was in prosperity. The consumption of
    the porcelain of China, of the spiceries of the Moluccas, of the piece goods
    of Bengal, and of innumerable other articles, has increased very nearly in a
    like proportion. The tonnage, accordingly, of all the European shipping
    employed in the East India trade, at any one time during the last century,
    was not, perhaps, much greater than that of the English East India company
    before the late reduction of their shipping.

    But in the East Indies, particularly in China and Indostan, the value of the
    precious metals, when the Europeans first began to trade to those countries,
    was much higher than in Europe; and it still continues to be so. In rice
    countries, which generally yield two, sometimes three crops in the year,
    each of them more plentiful than any common crop of corn, the abundance of
    food must be much greater than in any corn country of equal extent. Such
    countries are accordingly much more populous. In them, too, the rich, having
    a greater superabundance of food to dispose of beyond what they themselves
    can consume, have the means of purchasing a much greater quantity of the
    labour of other people. The retinue of a grandee in China or Indostan
    accordingly is, by all accounts, much more numerous and splendid than that
    of the richest subjects in Europe. The same superabundance of food, of which
    they have the disposal, enables them to give a greater quantity of it for
    all those singular and rare productions which nature furnishes but in very
    small quantities; such as the precious metals and the precious stones, the
    great objects of the competition of the rich. Though the mines, therefore,
    which supplied the Indian market, had been as abundant as those which
    supplied the European, such commodities would naturally exchange for a
    greater quantity of food in India than in Europe. But the mines which
    supplied the Indian market with the precious metals seem to have been a good
    deal less abundant, and those which supplied it with the precious stones a
    good deal more so, than the mines which supplied the European. The precious
    metals, therefore, would naturally exchange in India for a somewhat greater
    quantity of the precious stones, and for a much greater quantity of food
    than in Europe. The money price of diamonds, the greatest of all
    superfluities, would be somewhat lower, and that of food, the first of all
    necessaries, a great deal lower in the one country than in the other. But
    the real price of labour, the real quantity of the necessaries of life which
    is given to the labourer, it has already been observed, is lower both in
    China and Indostan, the two great markets of India, than it is through the
    greater part of Europe. The wages of the labourer will there purchase a
    smaller quantity of food: and as the money price of food is much lower in
    India than in Europe, the money price of labour is there lower upon a double
    account; upon account both of the small quantity of food which it will
    purchase, and of the low price of that food. But in countries of equal art
    and industry, the money price of the greater part of manufactures will be in
    proportion to the money price of labour; and in manufacturing art and
    industry, China and Indostan, though inferior, seem not to be much inferior
    to any part of Europe. The money price of the greater part of manufactures,
    therefore, will naturally be much lower in those great empires than it is
    anywhere in Europe. Through the greater part of Europe, too, the expense of
    land-carriage increases very much both the real and nominal price of most
    manufactures. It costs more labour, and therefore more money, to bring first
    the materials, and afterwards the complete manufacture to market. In China
    and Indostan, the extent and variety of inland navigations save the greater
    part of this labour, and consequently of this money, and thereby reduce
    still lower both the real and the nominal price of the greater part of their
    manufactures. Upon all these accounts, the precious metals are a commodity
    which it always has been, and still continues to be, extremely advantageous
    to carry from Europe to India. There is scarce any commodity which
    brings a better price there; or which, in proportion to the quantity of
    labour and commodities which it costs in Europe. will purchase or command a
    greater quantity of labour and commodities in India. It is more
    advantageous, too, to carry silver thither than gold; because in China, and
    the greater part of the other markets of India, the proportion between fine
    silver and fine gold is but as ten, or at most as twelve to one; whereas in
    Europe it is as fourteen or fifteen to one. In China, and the greater part
    of the other markets of India, ten, or at most twelve ounces of silver, will
    purchase an ounce of gold ; in Europe, it requires from fourteen to fifteen
    ounces. In the cargoes, therefore, of the greater part of European ships
    which sail to India, silver has generally been one of the most valuable
    articles. It is the most valuable article in the Acapulco ships which sail
    to Manilla. The silver of the new continent seems, in this manner, to be one
    of the principal commodities by which the commerce between the two
    extremities of the old one is carried on ; and it is by means of it, in a
    great measure, that those distant parts of the world are connected with one
    another.

    In order to supply so very widely extended a market, the quantity of silver
    annually brought from the mines must not only be sufficient to support that
    continued increase, both of coin and of plate, which is required in all
    thriving countries; but to repair that continual waste and consumption of
    silver which takes place in all countries where that metal is used.

    The continual consumption of the precious metals in coin by wearing, and in
    plate both by wearing and cleaning, is very sensible ; and in commodities of
    which the use is so very widely extended, would alone require a very great
    annual supply. The consumption of those metals in some particular
    manufactures, though it may not perhaps be greater upon the whole than this
    gradual consumption, is, however, much more sensible, as it is much more
    rapid. In the manufactures of Birmingham alone, the quantity of gold and
    silver annually employed in gilding and plating, and thereby disqualified
    from ever afterwards appearing in the shape of those metals, is said to
    amount to more than fifty thousand pounds sterling. We may from thence form
    some notion how great must be the annual consumption in all the different
    parts of the world, either in manufactures of the same kind with those of
    Birmingham, or in laces, embroideries, gold and silver stuffs, the gilding
    of books, furniture, etc. A considerable quantity, too, must be annually
    lost in transporting those metals from one place to another both by sea and
    by land. In the greater part of the governments of Asia, besides, the almost
    universal custom of concealing treasures in the bowels of the earth, of
    which the knowledge frequently dies with the person who makes the
    concealment, must occasion the loss of a still greater quantity.

    The quantity of gold and silver imported at both Cadiz and Lisbon (including
    not only what comes under register, but what may be supposed to be smuggled)
    amounts, according to the best accounts, to about six millions sterling
    a-year.

    According to Mr Meggens {Postscript to the Universal Merchant p. 15 and 16.
    This postscript was not printed till 1756, three years after the publication
    of the book, which has never had a second edition. The postscript is,
    therefore, to be found in few copies ; it corrects several errors in the
    book.}, the annual importation of the precious metals into Spain, at an
    average of six years, viz. from 1748 to 1753, both inclusive, and into
    Portugal, at an average of seven years, viz. from 1747 to 1753, both
    inclusive, amounted in silver to 1,101,107 pounds weight, and in gold to
    49,940 pounds weight. The silver, at sixty two shillings the pound troy,
    amounts to £ 3,4l3,43l:10s. sterling. The gold, at forty-four guineas and a
    half the pound troy, amounts to £ 2,333,446:14s. sterling. Both together
    amount to £ 5,746,878:4s. sterling. The account of what was imported under
    register, he assures us, is exact. He gives us the detail of the particular
    places from which the gold and silver were brought, and of the particular
    quantity of each metal, which, according to the register, each of them
    afforded. He makes an allowance, too, for the quantity of each metal which,
    he supposes, may have been smuggled. The great experience of this judicious
    merchant renders his opinion of considerable weight.

    According to the eloquent, and sometimes well-informed, author of the
    Philosophical and Political History of the Establishment of the Europeans in
    the two Indies, the annual importation of registered gold and silver into
    Spain, at an average of eleven years, viz. from 1754 to 1764, both
    inclusive, amounted to 13,984,185 3/5 piastres of ten reals. On account of
    what may have been smuggled, however, the whole annual importation, he
    supposes, may have amounted to seventeen millions of piastres, which, at 4s.
    6d. the piastre, is equal to £ 3,825,000 sterling. He gives the detail, too,
    of the particular places from which the gold and silver were brought, and of
    the particular quantities of each metal, which according to the register,
    each of them afforded. He informs us, too, that if we were to judge of the
    quantity of gold annually imported from the Brazils to Lisbon, by the amount
    of the tax paid to the king of Portugal, which it seems, is one-fifth of the
    standard metal, we might value it at eighteen millions of cruzadoes, or
    forty-five millions of French livres, equal to about twenty millions
    sterling. On account of what may have been smuggled, however, we may safely,
    he says, add to this sum an eighth more, or £ 250,000 sterling, so that the
    whole will amount to £ 2,250,000 sterling. According to this account,
    therefore, the whole annual importation of the precious metals into both
    Spain and Portugal, mounts to about £ 6,075,000 sterling.

    Several other very well authenticated, though manuscript accounts, I have
    been assured, agree in making this whole annual importation amount, at an
    average, to about six millions sterling; sometimes a little more, sometimes
    a little less.

    The annual importation of the precious metals into Cadiz and Lisbon, indeed,
    is not equal to the whole annual produce of the mines of America. Some part
    is sent annually by the Acapulco ships to Manilla; some part is employed in
    a contraband trade, which the Spanish colonies carry on with those of other
    European nations; and some part, no doubt, remains in the country. The mines
    of America, besides, are by no means the only gold and silver mines in the
    world. They, are, however, by far the most abundant. The produce of all the
    other mines which are known is insignificant, it is acknowledged, in
    comparison with their's ; and the far greater part of their produce, it is
    likewise acknowledged, is annually imported into Cadiz and Lisbon. But the
    consumption of Birmingham alone, at the rate of fifty thousand pounds
    a-year, is equal to the hundred-and-twentieth part of this annual
    importation, at the rate of six millions a-year. The whole annual
    consumption of gold and silver, therefore, in all the different countries of
    the world where those metals are used, may, perhaps, be nearly equal to the
    whole annual produce. The remainder may be no more than sufficient to supply
    the increasing demand of all thriving countries. It may even have fallen so
    far short of this demand, as somewhat to raise the price of those metals in
    the European market.

    The quantity of brass and iron annually brought from the mine to the market,
    is out of all proportion greater than that of gold and silver. We do not,
    however, upon this account, imagine that those coarse metals are likely to
    multiply beyond the demand, or to become gradually cheaper and cheaper. Why
    should we imagine that the precious metals are likely to do so? The coarse
    metals, indeed, though harder, are put to much harder uses, and, as they are
    of less value, less care is employed in their preservation. The precious
    metals, however, are not necessarily immortal any more than they, but are
    liable, too, to be lost, wasted, and consumed, in a great variety of ways.

    The price of all metals, though liable to slow and gradual variations,
    varies less from year to year than that of almost any other part of the rude
    produce of land: and the price of the precious metals is even less liable to
    sudden variations than that of the coarse ones. The durableness of metals is
    the foundation of this extraordinary steadiness of price. The corn which was
    brought to market last year will be all, or almost all, consumed, long
    before the end of this year. But some part of the iron which was brought
    from: the mine two or three hundred years ago, may be still in use, and,
    perhaps, some part of the gold which was brought from it two or three
    thousand years ago. The different masses of corn, which, in different years,
    must supply the consumption of the world, will always be nearly in
    proportion to the respective produce of those different years. But the
    proportion between the different masses of iron which may be in use in two
    different years, will be very little affected by any accidental difference
    in the produce of the iron mines of those two years ; and the proportion
    between the masses of gold will be still less affected by any such
    difference in the produce of the gold mines. Though the produce of the
    greater part of metallic mines, therefore, varies, perhaps, still more from
    year to year than that of the greater part of corn fields, those variations
    have not the same effect upon the price of the one species of commodities as
    upon that of the other.

    Variations in the Proportion between the respective Values of Gold and
    Silver.

    Before the discovery of the mines of America, the value of fine gold to fine
    silver was regulated in the different mines of Europe, between the
    proportions of one to ten and one to twelve ; that is, an ounce of fine gold
    was supposed to be worth from ten to twelve ounces of fine silver. About the
    middle of the last century, it came to be regulated, between the proportions
    of one to fourteen and one to fifteen; that is, an ounce of fine gold came
    to be supposed worth between fourteen and fifteen ounces of fine silver.
    Gold rose in its nominal value, or in the quantity of silver which was given
    for it. Both metals sunk in their real value, or in the quantity of labour
    which they could purchase; but silver sunk more than gold. Though both the
    gold and silver mines of America exceeded in fertility all those which had
    ever been known before, the fertility of the silver mines had, it seems,
    been proportionally still greater than that of the gold ones.

    The great quantities of silver carried annually from Europe to India, have,
    in some of the English settlements, gradually reduced the value of that
    metal in proportion to gold. In the mint of Calcutta, an ounce of fine gold
    is supposed to be worth fifteen ounces of fine silver, in the same manner as
    in Europe. It is in the mint, perhaps, rated too high for the value which it
    bears in the market of Bengal. In China, the proportion of gold to silver
    still continues as one to ten, or one to twelve. In Japan, it is said to be
    as one to eight.

    The proportion between the quantities of gold and silver annually imported
    into Europe, according to Mr Meggens' account, is as one to twenty-two
    nearly ; that is, for one ounce of gold there are imported a little more
    than twenty-two ounces of silver. The great quantity of silver sent annually
    to the East Indies reduces, he supposes, the quantities of those metals
    which remain in Europe to the proportion of one to fourteen or fifteen, the
    proportion of their values. The proportion between their values, he seems to
    think, must necessarily be the same as that between their quantities, and
    would therefore be as one to twenty-two, were it not for this greater
    exportation of silver.

    But the ordinary proportion between the respective values of two commodities
    is not necessarily the same as that between the quantities of them which are
    commonly in the market. The price of an ox, reckoned at ten guineas, is
    about three score times the price of a lamb, reckoned at 3s. 6d. It would be
    absurd, however, to infer from thence, that there are commonly in the market
    three score lambs for one ox ; and it would be just as absurd to infer,
    because an ounce of gold will commonly purchase from fourteen or fifteen
    ounces of silver, that there are commonly in the market only fourteen or
    fifteen ounces of silver for one ounce of gold.

    The quantity of silver commonly in the market, it is probable, is much
    greater in proportion to that of gold, than the value of a certain quantity
    of gold is to that of an equal quantity of silver. The whole quantity of a
    cheap commodity brought to market is commonly not only greater, but of
    greater value, than the whole quantity of a dear one. The whole quantity of
    bread annually brought to market, is not only greater, but of greater value,
    than the whole quantity of butcher's meat; the whole quantity of butcher's
    meat, than the whole quantity of poultry ; and the whole quantity of
    poultry, than the whole quantity of wild fowl. There are so many more
    purchasers for the cheap than for the dear commodity, that, not only a
    greater quantity of it, but a greater value can commonly be disposed of. The
    whole quantity, therefore, of the cheap commodity, must commonly be greater
    in proportion to the whole quantity of the dear one, than the value of a
    certain quantity of the dear one, is to the value of an equal quantity of
    the cheap one. When we compare the precious metals with one another, silver
    is a cheap, and gold a dear commodity. We ought naturally to expect,
    therefore, that there should always be in the market, not only a greater
    quantity, but a greater value of silver than of gold. Let any man, who has a
    little of both, compare his own silver with his gold plate, and he will
    probably find, that not only the quantity, but the value of the former,
    greatly exceeds that of the latter. Many people, besides, have a good deal
    of silver who have no gold plate, which, even with those who have it, is
    generally confined to watch-cases, snuff-boxes, and such like trinkets, of
    which the whole amount is seldom of great value. In the British coin,
    indeed, the value of the gold preponderates greatly, but it is not so in
    that of all countries. In the coin of some countries, the value of the two
    metals is nearly equal. In the Scotch coin, before the union with England,
    the gold preponderated very little, though it did somewhat {See Ruddiman's
    Preface to Anderson's Diplomata, etc. Scotiae.}, as it appears by the
    accounts of the mint. In the coin of many countries the silver
    preponderates. In France, the largest sums are commonly paid in that metal,
    and it is there difficult to get more gold than what is necessary to carry
    about in your pocket. The superior value, however, of the silver plate above
    that of the gold, which takes place in all countries, will much more than
    compensate the preponderancy of the gold coin above the silver, which takes
    place only in some countries.

    Though, in one sense of the word, silver always has been, and probably
    always will be, much cheaper than gold ; yet, in another sense, gold may
    perhaps, in the present state of the Spanish market, be said te be somewhat
    cheaper than silver. A commodity may be said to be dear or cheap not only
    according to the absolute greatness or smallness of its usual price, but
    according as that price is more or less above the lowest for which it is
    possible to bring it to market for any considerable time together. This
    lowest price is that which barely replaces, with a moderate profit, the
    stock which must be employed in bringing the commodity thither. It is the
    price which affords nothing to the landlord, of which rent makes not any
    component part, but which resolves itself altogether into wages and profit.
    But, in the present state of the Spanish market, gold is certainly somewhat
    nearer to this lowest price than silver. The tax of the king of Spain upon
    gold is only one-twentieth part of the standard metal, or five per cent.;
    whereas his tax upon silver amounts to one-tenth part of it, or to ten per
    cent. In these taxes, too, it has already been observed, consists the whole
    rent of the greater part of the gold and silver mines of Spanish America;
    and that upon gold is still worse paid than that upon silver. The profits of
    the undertakers of gold mines, too, as they more rarely make a fortune,
    must, in general, be still more moderate than those of the undertakers of
    silver mines. The price of Spanish gold, therefore, as it affords both less
    rent and less profit, must, in the Spanish market, be somewhat nearer to the
    lowest price for which it is possible to bring it thither, than the price of
    Spanish silver. When all expenses are computed, the whole quantity of the
    one metal, it would seem, cannot, in the Spanish market, be disposed of so
    advantageously as the whole quantity of the other. The tax, indeed, of the
    king of Portugal upon the gold of the Brazils, is the same with the ancient
    tax of the king of Spain upon the silver of Mexico and Peru; or one-fifth
    part of the standard metal. It may therefore be uncertain, whether, to the
    general market of Europe, the whole mass of American gold comes at a price
    nearer to the lowest for which it is possible to bring it thither, than the
    whole mass of American silver.

    The price of diamonds and other precious stones may, perhaps, be still
    nearer to the lowest price at which it is possible to bring them to market,
    than even the price of gold.

    Though it is not very probable that any part of a tax, which is not only
    imposed upon one of the most proper subjects of taxation, a mere luxury and
    superfluity, but which affords so very important a revenue as the tax upon
    silver, will ever be given up as long as it is possible to pay it; yet the
    same impossibility of paying it, which, in 1736. made it necessary to reduce
    it from one-fifth to one-tenth, may in time make it necessary to reduce it
    still further ; in the same manner as it made it necessary to reduce the tax
    upon gold to one-twentieth. That the silver mines of Spanish America, like
    all other mines, become gradually more expensive in the working, on account
    of the greater depths at which it is necessary to carry on the works, and of
    the greater expense of drawing out the water, and of supplying them with
    fresh air at those depths, is acknowledged by everybody who has inquired
    into the state of those mines.

    These causes, which are equivalent to a growing scarcity of silver (for a
    commodity may be said to grow scarcer when it becomes more difficult and
    expensive to collect a certain quantity of it), must, in time, produce one
    or other of the three following events: The increase of the expense must
    either, first, be compensated altogether by a proportionable increase in the
    price of the metal ; or, secondly, it must be compensated altogether by a
    proportionable diminution of the tax upon silver ; or, thirdly, it must be
    compensated partly by the one and partly by the other of those two
    expedients. This third event is very possible. As gold rose in its price in
    proportion to silver, notwithstanding a great diminution of the tax upon
    gold, so silver might rise in its price in proportion to labour and
    commodities, notwithstanding an equal diminution of the tax upon silver.

    Such successive reductions of the tax, however, though they may not
    prevent altogether, must certainly retard, more or less, the rise of the
    value of silver in the European market. In consequence of such reductions,
    many mines may be wrought which could not be wrought before, because they
    could not afford to pay the old tax ; and the quantity of silver annually
    brought to market, must always be somewhat greater, and, therefore, the
    value of any given quantity somewhat less, than it otherwise would have
    been. In consequence of the reduction in 1736, the value of silver in the
    European market, though it may not at this day be lower than before that
    reduction, is, probably, at least ten per cent. lower than it would have
    been, had the court of Spain continued to exact the old tax.

    That, notwithstanding this reduction, the value of silver has, during the
    course of the present century, begun to rise somewhat in the European
    market, the facts and arguments which have been alleged above, dispose me to
    believe, or more properly to suspect and conjecture; for the best opinion
    which I can form upon this subject, scarce, perhaps, deserves the name of
    belief. The rise, indeed, supposing there has been any, has hitherto been so
    very small, that after all that has been said, it may, perhaps, appear to
    many people uncertain, not only whether this event has actually taken place,
    but whether the contrary may not have taken place, or whether the value of
    silver may not still continue to fall in the European market.

    It must be observed, however, that whatever may be the supposed annual
    importation of gold and silver, there must be a certain period at which the
    annual consumption of those metals will be equal to that annual importation.
    Their consumption must increase as their mass increases, or rather in a much
    greater proportion. As their mass increases, their value diminishes. They
    are more used, and less cared for, and their consumption consequently
    increases in a greater proportion than their mass. After a certain period,
    therefore, the annual consumption of those metals must, in this manner,
    become equal to their annual importation, provided that importation is not
    continually increasing; which, in the present times, is not supposed to be
    the case.

    If, when the annual consumption has become equal to the annual importation,
    the annual importation should gradually diminish, the annual consumption
    may, for some time, exceed the annual importation. The mass of those metals
    may gradually and insensibly diminish, and their value gradually and
    insensibly rise, till the annual importation becoming again stationary, the
    annual consumption will gradually and insensibly accommodate itself to what
    that annual importation can maintain.

    Grounds of the suspicion that the Value of Silver still continues to
    decrease.

    The increase of the wealth of Europe, and the popular notion, that as the
    quantity of the precious metals naturally increases with the increase of
    wealth, so their value diminishes as their quantity increases, may, perhaps,
    dispose many people to believe that their value still continues to fall in
    the European market; and the still gradually increasing price of many parts
    of the rude produce of land may confirm them still farther in this opinion.

    That that increase in the quantity of the precious metals, which arises in
    any country from the increase of wealth, has no tendency to diminish their
    value, I have endeavoured to shew already. Gold and silver naturally resort
    to a rich country, for the same reason that all sorts of luxuries and
    curiosities resort to it ; not because they are cheaper there than in poorer
    countries, but because they are dearer, or because a better price is given
    for them. It is the superiority of price which attracts them; and as soon as
    that superiority ceases, they necessarily cease to go thither.

    If you except corn, and such other vegetables as are raised altogether by
    human industry, that all other sorts of rude produce, cattle, poultry, game
    of all kinds, the useful fossils and minerals of the earth, etc. naturally
    grow dearer, as the society advances in wealth and improvement, I have
    endeavoured to shew already. Though such commodities, therefore, come to
    exchange for a greater quantity of silver than before, it will not from
    thence follow that silver has become really cheaper, or will purchase less
    labour than before ; but that such commodities have become really dearer, or
    will purchase more labour than before. It is not their nominal price only,
    but their real price, which rises in the progress of improvement. The rise
    of their nominal price is the effect, not of any degradation of the value of
    silver, but of the rise in their real price.

    Different Effects of the Progress of Improvement upon three different sorts
    of rude Produce.

    These different sorts of rude produce may be divided into three classes. The
    first comprehends those which it is scarce in the power of human industry to
    multiply at all. The second, those which it can multiply in proportion to
    the demand. The third, those in which the efficacy of industry is either
    limited or uncertain. In the progress of wealth and improvement, the real
    price of the first may rise to any degree of extravagance, and seems not to
    be limited by any certain boundary. That of the second, though it may rise
    greatly, has, however, a certain boundary, beyond which it cannot well pass
    for any considerable time together. That of the third, though its natural
    tendency is to rise in the progress of improvement, yet in the same degree
    of improvement it may sometimes happen even to fall, sometimes to continue
    the same, and sometimes to rise more or less, according as different
    accidents render the efforts of human industry, in multiplying this sort of
    rude produce, more or less successful.

    First Sort. - The first sort of rude produce, of which the price rises in the
    progress of improvement, is that which it is scarce in the power of human
    industry to multiply at all. It consists in those things which nature
    produces only in certain quantities, and which being of a very perishable
    nature, it is impossible to accumulate together the produce of many
    different seasons. Such are the greater part of rare and singular birds and
    fishes, many different sorts of game, almost all wild-fowl, all birds of
    passage in particular, as well as many other things. When wealth, and the
    luxury which accompanies it, increase, the demand for these is likely to
    increase with them, and no effort of human industry may be able to increase
    the supply much beyond what it was before this increase of the demand. The
    quantity of such commodities, therefore, remaining the same, or nearly the
    same, while the competition to purchase them is continually increasing,
    their price may rise to any degree of extravagance, and seems not to be
    limited by any certain boundary. If woodcocks should
    become so fashionable as to sell for twenty guineas a-piece, no
    effort of human industry could increase the number of those brought to
    market, much beyond what it is at present. The high price paid by the
    Romans, in the time of their greatest grandeur, for rare birds and fishes,
    may in this manner easily be accounted for. These prices were not the
    effects of the low value of silver in those times, but of the high value of
    such rarities and curiosities as human industry could not multiply at
    pleasure. The real value of silver was higher at Rome, for sometime before,
    and after the fall of the republic, than it is through the greater part of
    Europe at present. Three sestertii equal to about sixpence sterling, was the
    price which the republic paid for the modius or peck of the tithe wheat of
    Sicily. This price, however, was probably below the average market price,
    the obligation to deliver their wheat at this rate being considered as a tax
    upon the Sicilian farmers. When the Romans, therefore, had occasion to order
    more corn than the tithe of wheat amounted to, they were bound by
    capitulation to pay for the surplus at the rate of four sestertii, or
    eightpence sterling the peck; and this had probably been reckoned the
    moderate and reasonable, that is, the ordinary or average contract price of
    those times; it is equal to about one-and-twenty shillings the quarter.
    Eight-and-twenty shillings the quarter was, before the late years of
    scarcity, the ordinary contract price of English wheat, which in quality is
    inferior to the Sicilian, and generally sells for a lower price in the
    European market. The value of silver, therefore, in those ancient times,
    must have been to its value in the present, as three to four inversely ;
    that is, three ounces of silver would then have purchased the same quantity
    of labour and commodities which four ounces will do at present. When we
    read in Pliny, therefore, that Seius {Lib.X,c.29.} bought a white
    nightingale, as a present for the empress Agrippina, at the price of six
    thousand sestertii, equal to about fifty pounds of our present money ; and
    that Asinius Celer {Lib. IX,c. 17.} purchased a surmullet at the price of
    eight thousand sestertii, equal to about sixty-six pounds thirteen shillings
    and fourpence of our present money ; the extravagance of those prices, how
    much soever it may surprise us, is apt, notwithstanding, to appear to us
    about one third less than it really was. Their real price, the quantity of
    labour and subsistence which was given away for them, was about one-third
    more than their nominal price is apt to express to us in the present times.
    Seius gave for the nightingale the command of a quantity of labour and
    subsistence, equal to what £ 66:13: 4d. would purchase in the present times
    ; and Asinius Celer gave for a surmullet the command of a quantity equal to
    what £ 88:17: 9d. would purchase. What occasioned the extravagance of those
    high prices was, not so much the abundance of silver, as the abundance of
    labour and subsistence, of which those Romans had the disposal, beyond what
    was necessary for their own use. The quantity of silver, of which they had
    the disposal, was a good deal less than what the command of the same
    quantity of labour and subsistence would have procured to them in the
    present times.

    Second sort. - The second sort of rude produce, of which the price rises in
    the progress of improvement, is that which human industry can multiply in
    proportion to the demand. It consists in those useful plants and animals,
    which, in uncultivated countries, nature produces with such profuse
    abundance, that they are of little or no value, and which, as cultivation
    advances, are therefore forced to give place to some more profitable
    produce. During a long period in the progress of improvement, the quantity
    of these is continually diminishing, while, at the same time, the demand for
    them is continually increasing. Their real value, therefore, the real
    quantity of labour which they will purchase or command, gradually rises,
    till at last it gets so high as to render them as profitable a produce as
    any thing else which human industry can raise upon the most fertile and best
    cultivated land. When it has got so high, it cannot well go higher. If it
    did, more land and more industry would soon be employed to increase their
    quantity.

    When the price of cattle, for example, rises so high, that it is as
    profitable to cultivate land in order to raise food for them as in order to
    raise food for man, it cannot well go higher. If it did, more corn land
    would soon be turned into pasture. The extension of tillage, by diminishing
    the quantity of wild pasture, diminishes the quantity of butcher's meat,
    which the country naturally produces without labour or cultivation; and, by
    increasing the number of those who have either corn, or, what comes to the
    same thing, the price of corn, to give in exchange for it, increases the
    demand. The price of butcher's meat, therefore, and, consequently, of
    cattle, must gradually rise, till it gets so high, that it becomes as
    profitable to employ the most fertile and best cultivated lands in raising
    food for them as in raising corn. But it must always be late in the progress
    of improvement before tillage can be so far extended as to raise the price
    of cattle to this height ; and, till it has got to this height, if the
    country is advancing at all, their price must be continually rising. There
    are, perhaps, some parts of Europe in which the price of cattle has not yet
    got to this height. It had not got to this height in any part of Scotland
    before the Union. Had the Scotch cattle been always confined to the market
    of Scotland, in a country in which the quantity of land, which can be
    applied to no other purpose but the feeding of cattle, is so great in
    proportion to what can be applied to other purposes, it is scarce possible,
    perhaps, that their price could ever have risen so high as to render it
    profitable to cultivate land for the sake of feeding them. In England, the
    price of cattle, it has already been observed, seems, in the neighbourhood
    of London, to have got to this height about the beginning of the last
    century; but it was much later, probably, before it got through the greater
    part of the remoter counties, in some of which, perhaps, it may scarce yet
    have got to it. Of all the different substances, however, which compose this
    second sort of rude produce, cattle is, perhaps, that of which the price, in
    the progress of improvement, rises first to this height.

    Till the price of cattle, indeed, has got to this height, it seems scarce
    possible that the greater part, even of those lands which are capable of the
    highest cultivation, can be completely cultivated. In all farms too distant
    from any town to carry manure from it, that is, in the far greater part of
    those of every extensive country, the quantity of well cultivated land must
    be in proportion to the quantity of manure which the farm itself produces ;
    and this, again, must be in proportion to the stock of cattle which are
    maintained upon it. The land is manured, either by pasturing the cattle upon
    it, or by feeding them in the stable, and from thence carrying out their
    dung to it. But unless the price of the cattle be sufficient to pay both the
    rent and profit of cultivated land, the farmer cannot afford to pasture them
    upon it ; and he can still less afford to feed them in the stable. It is
    with the produce of improved and cultivated land only that cattle can be fed
    in the stable; because, to collect the scanty and scattered produce of waste
    and unimproved lands, would require too much labour, and be too expensive.
    It the price of the cattle, therefore, is not sufficient to pay for the
    produce of improved and cuitivated land, when they are allowed to pasture
    it, that price will be still less sufficient to pay for that produce, when
    it must be collected with a good deal of additional labour, and brought into
    the stable to them. In these circumstances, therefore, no more cattle can
    with profit be fed in the stable than what are necessary for tillage. But
    these can never afford manure enough for keeping constantly in good
    condition all the lands which they are capable of cultivating. What they
    afford, being insufficient for the whole farm, will naturally be reserved
    for the lands to which it can be most advantageously or conveniently
    applied; the most fertile, or those, perhaps, in the neighbourhood of the
    farm-yard. These, therefore, will be kept constantly in good condition, and
    fit for tillage. The rest will, the greater part of them, be allowed to lie
    waste, producing scarce any thing but some miserable pasture, just
    sufficient to keep alive a few straggling, half-starved cattle; the farm,
    though much overstocked in proportion to what would be necessary for its
    complete cultivation, being very frequently overstocked in proportion to its
    actual produce. A portion of this waste land, however, after having been
    pastured in this wretched manner for six or seven years together, may be
    ploughed up, when it will yield, perhaps, a poor crop or two of bad oats, or
    of some other coarse grain ; and then, being entirely exhausted, it must be
    rested and pastured again as before, and another portion ploughed up, to be
    in the same manner exhausted and rested again in its turn. Such,
    accordingly, was the general system of management all over the low country
    of Scotland before the Union. The lands which were kept constantly well
    manured and in good condition seldom exceeded a third or fourth part of the
    whole farm, and sometimes did not amount to a fifth or a sixth part of it.
    The rest were never manured, but a certain portion of them was in its turn,
    notwithstanding, regularly cultivated and exhausted. Under this system of
    management, it is evident, even that part of the lands of Scotland which is
    capable of good cultivation, could produce but little in comparison of what
    it may be capable of producing. But how disadvantageous soever this system
    may appear, yet, before the Union, the low price of cattle seems to have
    rendered it almost unavoidable. If, notwithstanding a great rise in the
    price, it still continues to prevail through a considerable part of the
    country, it is owing in many places, no doubt, to ignorance and attachment
    to old customs, but, in most places, to the unavoidable obstructions which
    the natural course of things opposes to the immediate or speedy
    establishment of a better system : first, to the poverty of the tenants, to
    their not having yet had time to acquire a stock of cattle sufficient to
    cultivate their lands more completely, the same rise of price, which would
    render it advantageous for them to maintain a greater stock, rendering it
    more difficult for them to acquire it; and, secondly, to their not having
    yet had time to put their lands in condition to maintain this greater stock
    properly, supposing they were capable of acquiring it. The increase of stock
    and the improvement of land are two events which must go hand in hand, and
    of which the one can nowhere much outrun the other. Without some increase of
    stock, there can be scarce any improvement of land, but there can be no
    considerable increase of stock, but in consequence of a considerable
    improvement of land ; because otherwise the land could not maintain it.
    These natural obstructions to the establishment of a better system, cannot
    be removed but by a long course of frugality and industry ; and half a
    century or a century more, perhaps, must pass away before the old system,
    which is wearing out gradually, can be completely abolished through all the
    different parts of the country. Of all the commercial advantages, however,
    which Scotland has derived from the Union with England, this rise in the
    price of cattle is, perhaps, the greatest. It has not only raised the value
    of all highland estates, but it has, perhaps, been the principal cause of
    the improvement of the low country.

    In all new colonies, the great quantity of waste land, which can for many
    years be applied to no other purpose but the feeding of cattle, soon renders
    them extremely abundant ; and in every thing great cheapness is the
    necessary consequence of great abundance. Though all the cattle of the
    European colonies in America were originally carried from Europe, they soon
    multiplied so much there, and became of so little value, that even horses
    were allowed to run wild in the woods, without any owner thinking it worth
    while to claim them. It must be a long time after the first establishment of
    such colonies, before it can become profitable to feed cattle upon the
    produce of cultivated land. The same causes, therefore, the want of manure,
    and the disproportion between the stock employed in cultivation and the land
    which it is destined to cultivate, are likely to introduce there a system of
    husbandry, not unlike that which still continues to take place in so many
    parts of Scotland. Mr Kalm, the Swedish traveller, when he gives an account
    of the husbandry of some of the English colonies in North America, as he
    found it in 1749, observes, accordingly, that he can with difficulty
    discover there the character of the English nation, so well skilled in all
    the different branches of agriculture. They make scarce any manure for their
    corn fields, he says ; but when one piece of ground has been exhausted by
    continual cropping, they clear and cultivate another piece of fresh land;
    and when that is exhausted, proceed to a third. Their cattle are allowed to
    wander through the woods and other uncultivated grounds, where they are
    half-starved; having long ago extirpated almost all the annual grasses, by
    cropping them too early in the spring, before they had time to form their
    flowers, or to shed their seeds. {Kalm's Travels, vol 1, pp. 343, 344.} The
    annual grasses were, it seems, the best natural grasses in that part of
    North America; and when the Europeans first settled there, they used to grow
    very thick, and to rise three or four feet high. A piece of ground which,
    when he wrote, could not maintain one cow, would in former times, he was
    assured, have maintained four, each of which would have given four times
    the quantity of milk which that one was capable of giving. The poorness of
    the pasture had, in his opinion, occasioned the degradation of their cattle,
    which degenerated sensibly from me generation to another. They were probably
    not unlike that stunted breed which was common all over Scotland thirty or
    forty years ago, and which is now so much mended through the greater part of
    the low country, not so much by a change of the breed, though that expedient
    has been employed in some places, as by a more plentiful method of feeding
    them.

    Though it is late, therefore, in the progress of improvement, before cattle
    can bring such a price as to render it profitable to cultivate land for the
    sake of feeding them; yet of all the different parts which compose this
    second sort of rude produce, they are perhaps the first which bring this
    price ; because, till they bring it, it seems impossible that improvement
    can be brought near even to that degree of perfection to which it has
    arrived in many parts of Europe.

    As cattle are among the first, so perhaps venison is among the last parts of
    this sort of rude produce which bring this price. The price of venison in
    Great Britain, how extravagant soever it may appear, is not near sufficient
    to compensate the expense of a deer park, as is well known to all those who
    have had any experience in the feeding of deer. If it was otherwise, the
    feeding of deer would soon become an article of common farming, in the same
    manner as the feeding of those small birds, called turdi, was among the
    ancient Romans. Varro and Columella assure us, that it was a most profitable
    article. The fattening of ortolans, birds of passage which arrive lean in
    the country, is said to be so in some parts of France. If venison continues
    in fashion, and the wealth and luxury of Great Britain increase as they have
    done for some time past, its price may very probably rise still higher than
    it is at present.

    Between that period in the progress of improvement, which brings to its
    height the price of so necessary an article as cattle, and that which brings
    to it the price of such a superfluity as venison, there is a very long
    interval, in the course of which many other sorts of rude produce gradually
    arrive at their highest price, some sooner and some later, according to
    different circumstances.

    Thus, in every farm, the offals of the barn and stable will maintain a
    certain number of poultry. These, as they are fed with what would otherwise
    be lost, are a mere save-all ; and as they cost the farmer scarce any thing,
    so he can afford to sell them for very little. Almost all that he gets is
    pure gain, and their price can scarce be so low as to discourage him from
    feeding this number. But in countries ill cultivated, and therefore but
    thinly inhabited, the poultry, which are thus raised without expense, are
    often fully sufficient to supply the whole demand. In this state of things,
    therefore, they are often as cheap as butcher's meat, or any other sort of
    animal food. But the whole quantity of poultry which the farm in this manner
    produces without expense, must always be much smaller than the whole
    quantity of butcher's meat which is reared upon it; and in times of wealth
    and luxury, what is rare, with only nearly equal merit, is always preferred
    to what is common. As wealth and luxury increase, therefore, in consequence
    of improvement and cultivation, the price of poultry gradually rises above
    that of butcher's meat, till at last it gets so high, that it becomes
    profitable to cultivate land for the sake of feeding them. When it has got
    to this height, it cannot well go higher. If it did, more land would soon be
    turned to this purpose. In several provinces of France, the feeding of
    poultry is considered as a very important article in rural economy, and
    sufficiently profitable to encourage the farmer to raise a considerable
    quantity of Indian corn and buckwheat for this purpose. A middling farmer
    will there sometimes have four hundred fowls in his yard. The feeding of
    poultry seems scarce yet to be generally considered as a matter of so much
    importance in England. They are certainly, however, dearer in England than
    in France, as England receives considerable supplies from France. In the
    progress of improvements, the period at which every particular sort of
    animal food is dearest, must naturally be that which immediately precedes
    the general practice of cultivating land for the sake of raising it. For
    some time before this practice becomes general, the scarcity must
    necessarily raise the price. After it has become general, new methods of
    feeding are commonly fallen upon, which enable the farmer to raise upon the
    same quantity of ground a much greater quantity of that particular sort of
    animal food. The plenty not only obliges him to sell cheaper, but, in
    consequence of these improvements, he can afford to sell cheaper; for if he
    could not afford it, the plenty would not be of long continuance. It has
    been probably in this manner that the introduction of clover, turnips,
    carrots, cabbages, etc. has contributed to sink the common price of
    butcher's meat in the London market, somewhat below what it was about the
    beginning of the last century.

    The hog, that finds his food among ordure, and greedily devours many things
    rejected by every other useful animal, is, like poultry, originally kept as
    a save-all. As long as the number of such animals, which can thus be reared
    at little or no expense, is fully sufficient to supply the demand, this sort
    of butcher's meat comes to market at a much lower price than any other. But
    when the demand rises beyond what this quantity can supply, when it becomes
    necessary to raise food on purpose for feeding and fattening hogs, in the
    same manner as for feeding and fattening other cattle, the price necessarily
    rises, and becomes proportionably either higher or lower than that of other
    butcher's meat, according as the nature of the country, and the state of its
    agriculture, happen to render the feeding of hogs more or less expensive
    than that of other cattle. In France, according to Mr Buffon, the price of
    pork is nearly equal to that of beef. In most parts of Great Britain it is
    at present somewhat higher.

    The great rise in the price both of hogs and poultry, has, in Great Britain,
    been frequently imputed to the diminution of the number of cottagers and
    other small occupiers of land ; an event which has in every part of Europe
    been the immediate forerunner of improvement and better cultivation, but
    which at the same time may have contributed to raise the price of those
    articles, both somewhat sooner and somewhat faster than it would otherwise
    have risen. As the poorest family can often maintain a cat or a dog without
    any expense, so the poorest occupiers of land can commonly maintain a few
    poultry, or a sow and a few pigs, at very little. The little offals of their
    own table, their whey, skimmed milk, and butter milk, supply those animals
    with a part of their food, and they find the rest in the neighbouring
    fields, without doing any sensible damage to any body. By diminishing the
    number of those small occupiers, therefore, the quantity of this sort of
    provisions, which is thus produced at little or no expense, must certainly
    have been a good deal diminished, and their price must consequently have
    been raised both sooner and faster than it would otherwise have risen.
    Sooner or later, however, in the progress of improvement, it must at any
    rate have risen to the utmost height to which it is capable of rising ; or
    to the price which pays the labour and expense of cultivating the land which
    furnishes them with food, as well as these are paid upon the greater part of
    other cultivated land.

    The business of the dairy, like the feeding of hogs and poultry, is
    originally carried on as a save-all. The cattle necessarily kept upon the
    farm produce more milk than either the rearing of their own young, or the
    consumption of the farmer's family requires ; and they produce most at one
    particular season. But of all the productions of land, milk is perhaps the
    most perishable. In the warm season, when it is most abundant, it will
    scarce keep four-and-twenty hours. The farmer, by making it into fresh
    butter, stores a small part of it for a week ; by making it into salt butter,
    for a year ; and by making it into cheese, he stores a much greater part of
    it for several years. Part of all these is reserved for the use of his own
    family; the rest goes to market, in order to find the best price which is to
    be had, and which can scarce be so low is to discourage him from sending
    thither whatever is over and above the use of his own family. If it is very
    low indeed, he will be likely to manage his dairy in a very slovenly and
    dirty manner, and will scarce, perhaps, think it worth while to have a
    particular room or building on purpose for it, but will suffer the business
    to be carried on amidst the smoke, filth, and nastiness of his own kitchen,
    as was the case of almost all the farmers' dairies in Scotland thirty or
    forty years ago, and as is the case of many of them still. The same causes
    which gradually raise the price of butcher's meat, the increase of the
    demand, and, in consequence of the improvement of the country, the
    diminution of the quantity which can be fed at little or no expense, raise,
    in the same manner, that of the produce of the dairy, of which the price
    naturally connects with that of butcher's meat, or with the expense of
    feeding cattle. The increase of price pays for more labour, care, and
    cleanliness. The dairy becomes more worthy of the farmer's attention, and
    the quality of its produce gradually improves. The price at last gets so
    high, that it becomes worth while to employ some of the most fertile and
    best cultivated lands in feeding cattle merely for the purpose of the dairy
    ; and when it has got to this height, it cannot well go higher. If it did,
    more land would soon be turned to this purpose. It seems to have got to this
    height through the greater part of England, where much good land is commonly
    employed in this manner. If you except the neighbourhood of a few
    considerable towns, it seems not yet to have got to this height anywhere in
    Scotland, where common farmers seldom employ much good land in raising food
    for cattle, merely for the purpose of the dairy. The price of the produce,
    though it has risen very considerably within these few years, is probably
    still too low to admit of it. The inferiority of the quality, indeed,
    compared with that of the produce of English dairies, is fully equal to that
    of the price. But this inferiority of quality is, perhaps, rather the effect
    of this lowness of price, than the cause of it. Though the quality was much
    better, the greater part of what is brought to market could not, I
    apprehend, in the present circumstances of the country, be disposed of at a
    much better price; and the present price, it is probable, would not pay the
    expense of the land and labour necessary for producing a much better
    quality. Through the greater part of England, notwithstanding the
    superiority of price, the dairy is not reckoned a more profitable employment
    of land than the raising of corn, or the fattening of cattle, the two great
    objects of agriculture. Through the greater part of Scotland, therefore, it
    cannot yet be even so profitable.

    The lands of no country, it is evident, can ever be completely cultivated
    and improved, till once the price of every produce, which human industry is
    obliged to raise upon them, has got so high as to pay for the expense of
    complete improvement and cultivation. In order to do this, the price of each
    particular produce must be sufficient, first, to pay the rent of good corn
    land, as it is that which regulates the rent of the greater part of other
    cultivated land; and, secondly, to pay the labour and expense of the farmer,
    as well as they are commonly paid upon good corn land ; or, in other words,
    to replace with the ordinary profits the stock which he employs about it.
    This rise in the price of each particular produce; must evidently be
    previous to the improvement and cultivation of the land which is destined
    for raising it. Gain is the end of all improvement; and nothing could
    deserve that name, of which loss was to be the necessary consequence. But
    loss must be the necessary consequence of improving land for the sake of a
    produce of which the price could never bring back the expense. If the
    complete improvement and cultivation of the country be, as it most certainly
    is, the greatest of all public advantages, this rise in the price of all
    those different sorts of rude produce, instead of being considered as a
    public calamity, ought to be regarded as the necessary forerunner and
    attendant of the greatest of all public advantages.

    This rise, too, in the nominal or money price of all those different sorts
    of rude produce, has been the effect, not of any degradation in the value of
    silver, but of a rise in their real price. They have become worth, not only
    a greater quantity of silver, but a greater quantity of labour and
    subsistence than before. As it costs a greater quantity of labour and
    subsistence to bring them to market, so, when they are brought thither they
    represent, or are equivalent to a greater quantity.

    Third Sort. ˜ The third and last sort of rude produce, of which the price
    naturally rises in the progress of improvement, is that in which the
    efficacy of human industry, in augmenting the quantity, is either limited or
    uncertain. Though the real price of this sort of rude produce, therefore,
    naturally tends to rise in the progress of improvement, yet, according as
    different accidents happen to render the efforts of human industry more or
    less successful in augmenting the quantity, it may happen sometimes even to
    fall, sometimes to continue the same, in very different periods of
    improvement, and sometimes to rise more or less in the same period.

    There are some sorts of rude produce which nature has rendered a kind of
    appendages to other sorts; so that the quantity of the one which any country
    can afford, is necessarily limited by that of the other. The quantity of
    wool or of raw hides, for example, which any country can afford, is
    necessarily limited by the number of great and small cattle that are kept in
    it. The state of its improvement, and the nature of its agriculture, again
    necessarily determine this number.

    The same causes which, in the progress of improvement, gradually raise the
    price of butcher's meat, should have the same effect, it may be thought,
    upon the prices of wool and raw hides, and raise them, too, nearly in the
    same proportion. It probably would be so, if, in the rude beginnings of
    improvement, the market for the latter commodities was confined within as
    narrow bounds as that for the former. But the extent of their respective
    markets is commonly extremely different.

    The market for butcher's meat is almost everywhere confined to the country
    which produces it. Ireland, and some part of British America, indeed, carry
    on a considerable trade in salt provisions; but they are, I believe, the
    only countries in the commercial world which do so, or which export to other
    countries any considerable part of their butcher's meat.

    The market for wool and raw hides, on the contrary, is, in the rude
    beginnings of improvement, very seldom confined to the country which
    produces them. They can easily be transported to distant countries ; wool
    without any preparation, and raw hides with very little ; and as they are
    the materials of many manufactures, the industry of other countries may
    occasion a demand for them, though that of the country which produces them
    might not occasion any.

    In countries ill cultivated, and therefore but thinly inhabited, the price
    of the wool and the hide bears always a much greater proportion to that of
    the whole beast, than in countries where, improvement and population being
    further advanced, there is more demand for butcher's meat. Mr Hume observes,
    that in the Saxon times, the fleece was estimated at two-fifths of the value
    of the whole sheep and that this was much above the proportion of its
    present estimation. In some provinces of Spain, I have been assured, the
    sheep is frequently killed merely for the sake of the fleece and the tallow.
    The carcase is often left to rot upon the ground, or to be devoured by
    beasts and birds of prey. If this sometimes happens even in Spain, it
    happens almost constantly in Chili, at Buenos Ayres, and in many other parts
    of Spanish America, where the horned cattle are almost constantly killed
    merely for the sake of the hide and the tallow. This, too, used to happen
    almost constantly in Hispaniola, while it was infested by the buccaneers,
    and before the settlement, improvement, and populousness of the French
    plantations ( which now extend round the coast of almost the whole western
    half of the island) had given some value to the cattle of the Spaniards, who
    still continue to possess, not only the eastern part of the coast, but the
    whole inland mountainous part of the country.

    Though, in the progress of improvement and population, the price of the
    whole beast necessarily rises, yet the price of the carcase is likely to be
    much more affected by this rise than that of the wool and the hide. The
    market for the carcase being in the rude state of society confined always to
    the country which produces it, must necessarily be extended in proportion to
    the improvement and population of that country. But the market for the wool
    and the hides, even of a barbarous country, often extending to the whole
    commercial world, it can very seldom be enlarged in the same proportion. The
    state of the whole commercial world can seldom be much affected by the
    improvement of any particular country; and the market for such commodities
    may remain the same, or very nearly the same, after such improvements, as
    before. It should, however, in the natural course of things, rather, upon
    the whole, be somewhat extended in consequence of them. If the manufactures,
    especially, of which those commodities are the materials, should ever come
    to flourish in the country, the market, though it might not be much
    enlarged, would at least be brought much nearer to the place of growth than
    before ; and the price of those materials might at least be increased by
    what had usually been the expense of transporting them to distant countries.
    Though it might not rise, therefore, in the same proportion as that of
    butcher's meat, it ought naturally to rise somewhat, and it ought certainly
    not to fall.

    In England, however, notwithstanding the flourishing state of its woollen
    manufacture, the price of English wool has fallen very considerably since
    the time of Edward III. There are many authentic records which demonstrate
    that, during the reign of that prince (towards the middle of the fourteenth
    century, or about 1339), what was reckoned the moderate and reasonable price
    of the tod, or twenty-eight pounds of English wool, was not less than ten
    shillings of the money of those times {See Smith 's Memoirs of Wool, vol. i
    c. 5, 6, 7. also vol. ii.}, containing, at the rate of twenty-pence the
    ounce, six ounces of silver, Tower weight, equal to about thirty shillings
    of our present money. In the present times, one-and-twenty shillings the tod
    may be reckoned a good price for very good English wool. The money price of
    wool, therefore, in the time of Edward III. was to its money price in the
    present times as ten to seven. The superiority of its real price was still
    greater. At the rate of six shillings and eightpence the quarter, ten
    shillings was in those ancient times the price of twelve bushels of wheat.
    At the rate of twenty-eight shillings the quarter, one-and-twenty shillings
    is in the present times the price of six bushels only. The proportion
    between the real price of ancient and modern times, therefore, is as twelve
    to six, or as two to one. In those ancient times, a tod of wool would have
    purchased twice the quantity of subsistence which it will purchase at
    present, and consequently twice the quantity of labour, if the real
    recompence of labour had been the same in both periods.

    This degradation, both in the real and nominal value of wool, could never
    have happened in consequence of the natural course of things. It has
    accordingly been the effect of violence and artifice. First, of the absolute
    prohibition of exporting wool from England: secondly, of the permission of
    importing it from Spain, duty free: thirdly, of the prohibition of exporting
    it from Ireland to another country but England. In consequence of these
    regulations, the market for English wool, instead of being somewhat
    extended, in consequence of the improvement of England, has been confined to
    the home market, where the wool of several other countries is allowed to
    come into competition with it, and where that of Ireland is forced into
    competition with it. As the woollen manufactures, too, of Ireland, are fully
    as much discouraged as is consistent with justice and fair dealing, the
    Irish can work up but a smaller part of their own wool at home, and are
    therefore obliged to send a greater proportion of it to Great Britain, the
    only market they are allowed.

    I have not been able to find any such authentic records concerning the price
    of raw hides in ancient times. Wool was commonly paid as a subsidy to the
    king, and its valuation in that subsidy ascertains, at least in some degree,
    what was its ordinary price. But this seems not to have been the case with
    raw hides. Fleetwood, however, from an account in 1425, between the prior of
    Burcester Oxford and one of his canons, gives us their price, at least as it
    was stated upon that particular occasion, viz. five ox hides at twelve
    shillings ; five cow hides at seven shillings and threepence ; thirtysix
    sheep skins of two years old at nine shillings; sixteen calf skins at two
    shillings. In 1425, twelve shillings contained about the same quantity of
    silver as four-and-twenty shillings of our present money. An ox hide,
    therefore, was in this account valued at the same quantity of silver as 4s.
    4/5ths of our present money. Its nominal price was a good deal lower than at
    present. But at the rate of six shillings and eightpence the quarter, twelve
    shillings would in those times have purchased fourteen bushels and
    four-fifths of a bushel of wheat, which, at three and sixpence the bushel,
    would in the present times cost 51s. 4d. An ox hide, therefore, would in
    those times have purchased as much corn as ten shillings and threepence
    would purchase at present. Its real value was equal to ten shillings and
    threepence of our present money. In those ancient times, when the cattle
    were half starved during the greater part of the winter, we cannot suppose
    that they were of a very large size. An ox hide which weighs four stone of
    sixteen pounds of avoirdupois, is not in the present times reckoned a bad
    one; and in those ancient times would probably have been reckoned a very
    good one. But at half-a-crown the stone, which at this moment (February
    1773) I understand to be the common price, such a hide would at present cost
    only ten shillings.Through its nominal price, therefore, is higher in the
    present than it was in those ancient times, its real price, the real
    quantity of subsistence which it will purchase or command, is rather
    somewhat lower. The price of cow hides, as stated in the above account, is
    nearly in the common proportion to that of ox hides. That of sheep skins is
    a good deal above it. They had probably been sold with the wool. That of
    calves skins, on the contrary, is greatly below it. In countries where the
    price of cattle is very low, the calves, which are not intended to be reared
    in order to keep up the stock, are generally killed very young, as was the
    case in Scotland twenty or thirty years ago. It saves the milk, which their
    price would not pay for. Their skins, therefore, are commonly good for
    little.

    The price of raw hides is a good deal lower at present than it was a few
    years ago; owing probably to the taking off the duty upon seal skins, and to
    the allowing, for a limited time, the importation of raw hides from Ireland,
    and from the plantations, duty free, which was done in 1769. Take the whole
    of the present century at an average, their real price has probably been
    somewhat higher than it was in those ancient times. The nature of the
    commodity renders it not quite so proper for being transported to distant
    markets as wool. It suffers more by keeping. A salted hide is reckoned
    inferior to a fresh one, and sells for a lower price. This circumstance must
    necessarily have some tendency to sink the price of raw hides produced in a
    country which does not manufacture them, but is obliged to export them, and
    comparatively to raise that of those produced in a country which does
    manufacture them. It must have some tendency to sink their price in a
    barbarous, and to raise it in an improved and manufacturing country. It must
    have had some tendency, therefore, to sink it in ancient, and to raise it in
    modern times. Our tanners, besides, have not been quite so successful as our
    clothiers, in convincing the wisdom of the nation, that the safety of the
    commonwealth depends upon the prosperity of their particular manufacture.
    They have accordingly been much less favoured. The exportation of raw hides
    has, indeed, been prohibited, and declared a nuisance; but their importation
    from foreign countries has been subjected to a duty ; and though this duty
    has been taken off from those of Ireland and the plantations (for the
    limited time of five years only), yet Ireland has not been confined to the
    market of Great Britain for the sale of its surplus hides, or of those which
    are not manufactured at home. The hides of common cattle have, but within
    these few years, been put among the enumerated commodities which the
    plantations can send nowhere but to the mother country ; neither has the
    commerce of Ireland been in this case oppressed hitherto, in order to
    support the manufactures of Great Britain.

    Whatever regulations tend to sink the price, either of wool or of raw hides,
    below what it naturally would he, must, in an improved and cultivated
    country, have some tendency to raise the price of butcher's meat. The price
    both of the great and small cattle, which are fed on improved and cultivated
    land, must be sufficient to pay the rent which the landlord, and the profit
    which the farmer, has reason to expect from improved and cultivated land. If
    it is not, they will soon cease to feed them. Whatever part of this price,
    therefore, is not paid by the wool and the hide, must be paid by the
    carcase. The less there is paid for the one, the more must be paid for the
    other. In what manner this price is to be divided upon the different parts
    of the beast, is indifferent to the landlords and farmers, provided it is
    all paid to them. In an improved and cultivated country, therefore, their
    interest as landlords and farmers cannot be much affected by such
    regulations, though their interest as consumers may, by the rise in the
    price of provisions. It would be quite otherwise, however, in an unimproved
    and uncultivated country, where the greater part of the lands could be
    applied to no other purpose but the feeding of cattle, and where the wool
    and the hide made the principal part of the value of those cattle. Their
    interest as landlords and farmers would in this case be very deeply affected
    by such regulations, and their interest as consumers very little. The fall
    in the price of the wool and the hide would not in this case raise the price
    of the carcase; because the greater part of the lands of the country being
    applicable to no other purpose but the feeding of cattle, the same number
    would still continue to be fed. The same quantity of butcher's meat would
    still come to market. The demand for it would be no greater than before. Its
    price, therefore, would be the same as before. The whole price of cattle
    would fall, and along with it both the rent and the prožt of all those
    lands of which cattle was the principal produce, that is, of the greater
    part of the lands of the country. The perpetual prohibition of the
    exportation of wool, which is commonly, but very falsely, ascribed to Edward
    III., would, in the then circumstances of the country, have been the most
    destructive regulation which could well have been thought of. It would not
    only have reduced the actual value of the greater part of the lands in the
    kingdom, but by reducing the price of the most important species of small
    cattle, it would have retarded very much its subsequent improvement.

    The wool of Scotland fell very considerably in its price in consequence of
    the union with England, by which it was excluded from the great market of
    Europe, and confined to the narrow one of Great Britain. The value of the
    greater part of the lands in the southern counties of Scotland, which are
    chiefly a sheep country, would have been very deeply affected by this event,
    had not the rise in the price of butcher's meat fully compensated the fall
    in the price of wool.

    As the efficacy of human industry, in increasing the quantity either of wool
    or of raw hides, is limited, so far as it depends upon the produce of the
    country where it is exerted ; so it is uncertain so far as it depends upon
    the produce of other countries. It so far depends not so much upon the
    quantity which they produce, as upon that which they do not manufacture; and
    upon the restraints which they may or may not think proper to impose upon
    the exportation of this sort of rude produce. These circumstances, as they
    are altogether independent of domestic industry, so they necessarily render
    the efficacy of its efforts more or less uncertain. In multiplying this sort
    of rude produce, therefore, the efficacy of human industry is not only
    limited, but uncertain.

    In multiplying another very important sort of rude produce, the quantity of
    fish that is brought to market, it is likewise both limited and uncertain.
    It is limited by the local situation of the country, by the proximity or
    distance of its different provinces from the sea, by the number of its lakes
    and rivers, and by what may be called the fertility or barrenness of those
    seas, lakes, and rivers, as to this sort of rude produce. As population
    increases, as the annual produce of the land and labour of the country grows
    greater and greater, there come to be more buyers of fish ; and those
    buyers, too, have a greater quantity and variety of other goods, or, what is
    the same thing, the price of a greater quantity and variety of other goods,
    to buy with. But it will generally be impossible to supply the great and
    extended market, without employing a quantity of labour greater than in
    proportion to what had been requisite for supplying the narrow and confined
    one. A market which, from requiring only one thousand, comes to require
    annually ten thousand ton of fish, can seldom be supplied, without employing
    more than ten times the quantity of labour which had before been sufficient
    to supply it. The fish must generally be sought for at a greater distance,
    larger vessels must be employed, and more expensive machinery of every kind
    made use of. The real price of this commodity, therefore, naturally rises in
    the progress of improvement. It has accordingly done so, I believe, more or
    less in every country.

    Though the success of a particular day's fishing maybe a very uncertain
    matter, yet the local situation of the country being supposed, the general
    efficacy of industry in bringing a certain quantity of fish to market,
    taking the course of a year, or of several years together, it may, perhaps,
    be thought is certain enough; and it, no doubt, is so. As it depends more,
    however, upon the local situation of the country, than upon the state of its
    wealth and industry ; as upon this account it may in different countries be
    the same in very different periods of improvement, and very different in the
    same period; its connection with the state of improvement is uncertain; and
    it is of this sort of uncertainty that I am here speaking.

    In increasing the quantity of the different minerals and metals which are
    drawn from the bowels of the earth, that of the more precious ones
    particularly, the efficacy of human industry seems not to be limited, but to
    be altogether uncertain.

    The quantity of the precious metals which is to be found in any country, is
    not limited by any thing in its local situation, such as the fertility or
    barrenness of its own mines. Those metals frequently abound in countries
    which possess no mines. Their quantity, in every particular country, seems
    to depend upon two different circumstances ; first, upon its power of
    purchasing, upon the state of its industry, upon the annual produce of its
    land and labour, in consequence of which it can afford to employ a greater
    or a smaller quantity of labour and subsistence, in bringing or purchasing
    such superfluities as gold and silver, either from its own mines, or from
    those of other countries; and, secondly, upon the fertility or barrenness of
    the mines which may happen at any particular time to supply the commercial
    world with those metals. The quantity of those metals in the countries most
    remote from the mines, must be more or less affected by this fertility or
    barrenness, on account of the easy and cheap transportation of those metals,
    of their small bulk and great value. Their quantity in China and Indostan
    must have been more or less affected by the abundance of the mines of
    America.

    So far as their quantity in any particular country depends upon the former
    of those two circumstances (the power of purchasing), their real price, like
    that of all other luxuries and superfluities, is likely to rise with the
    wealth and improvement of the country, and to fall with its poverty and
    depression. Countries which have a great quantity of labour and subsistence
    to spare, can afford to purchase any particular quantity of those metals at
    the expense of a greater quantity of labour and subsistence, than countries
    which have less to spare.

    So far as their quantity in any particular country depends upon the latter
    of those two circumstances (the fertility or barrenness of the mines which
    happen to supply the commercial world), their real price, the real quantity
    of labour and subsistence which they will purchase or exchange for, will, no
    doubt, sink more or less in proportion to the fertility, and rise in
    proportion to the barrenness of those mines.

    The fertility or barrenness of the mines, however, which may happen at any
    particular time to supply the commercial world, is a circumstance which, it
    is evident, may have no sort of connection with the state of industry in a
    particular country. It seems even to have no very necessary connection with
    that of the world in general. As arts and commerce, indeed, gradually spread
    themselves over a greater and a greater part of the earth, the search for
    new mines, being extended over a wider surface, may have somewhat a better
    chance for being successful than when confined within narrower bounds. The
    discovery of new mines, however, as the old ones come to be gradually
    exhausted, is a matter of the greatest uncertainty, and such as no human
    skill or industry can insure. All indications, it is acknowledged, are
    doubtful; and the actual discovery and successful working of a new mine can
    alone ascertain the reality of its value, or even of its existence. In this
    search there seem to be no certain limits, either to the possible success,
    or to the possible disappointment of human industry. In the course of a
    century or two, it is possible that new mines may be discovered, more
    fertile than any that have ever yet been known ; and it is just equally
    possible, that the most fertile mine then known may be more barren than any
    that was wrought before the discovery of the mines of America. Whether the
    one or the other of those two events may happen to take place, is of very
    little importance to the real wealth and prosperity of the world, to the
    real value of the annual produce of the land and labour of mankind. Its
    nominal value, the quantity of gold and silver by which this annual produce
    could be expressed or represented, would, no doubt, be very different ; but
    its real value, the real quantity of labour which it could purchase or
    command, would be precisely the same. A shilling might, in the one case,
    represent no more labour than a penny does at present ; and a penny, in the
    other, might represent as much as a shilling does now. But in the one case,
    he who had a shilling in his pocket would be no richer than he who has a
    penny at present; and in the other, he who had a penny would be just as rich
    as he who has a shilling now. The cheapness and abundance of gold and silver
    plate would be the sole advantage which the world could derive from the one
    event; and the dearness and scarcity of those trifling superfluities, the
    only inconveniency it could suffer from the other.

    Conclusion of the Digression concerning the Variations in the Value of
    Silver.

    The greater part of the writers who have collected the money price of things
    in ancient times, seem to have considered the low money price of corn, and
    of goods in general, or, in other words, the high value of gold and silver,
    as a proof, not only of the scarcity of those metals, but of the poverty and
    barbarism of the country at the time when it took place. This notion is
    connected with the system of political economy, which represents national
    wealth as consisting in the abundance and national poverty in the scarcity,
    of gold and silver ; a system which I shall endeavour to explain and examine
    at great length in the fourth book of this Inquiry. I shall only observe at
    present, that the high value of the precious metals can be no proof of the
    poverty or barbarism of any particular country at the time when it took
    place. It is a proof only of the barrenness of the mines which happened at
    that time to supply the commercial world. A poor country, as it cannot
    afford to buy more, so it can as little afford to pay dearer for gold and
    silver than a rich one ; and the value of those metals, therefore, is not
    likely to be higher in the former than in the latter. In China, a country
    much richer than any part of Europe, the value of the precious metals is
    much higher than in any part of Europe. As the wealth of Europe, indeed, has
    increased greatly since the discovery of the mines of America, so the value
    of gold and silver has gradually diminished. This diminution of their
    value, however, has not been owing to the increase of the real wealth of
    Europe, of the annual produce of its land and labour, but to the accidental
    discovery of more abundant mines than any that were known before. The
    increase of the quantity of gold and silver in Europe, and the increase of
    its manufactures and agriculture, are two events which, though they have
    happened nearly about the same time, yet have arisen from very different
    causes, and have scarce any natural connection with one another. The one has
    arisen from a mere accident, in which neither prudence nor policy either had
    or could have any share; the other, from the fall of the feudal system, and
    from the establishment of a government which afforded to industry the only
    encouragement which it requires, some tolerable security that it shall enjoy
    the fruits of its own labour. Poland, where the feudal system still
    continues to take place, is at this day as beggarly a country as it was
    before the discovery of America. The money price of corn, however, has risen
    ; the real value of the precious metals has fallen in Poland, in the same
    manner as in other parts of Europe. Their quantity, therefore, must have
    increased there as in other places, and nearly in the same proportion to the
    annual produce of its land and labour. This increase of the quantity of
    those metals, however, has not, it seems, increased that annual produce, has
    neither improved the manufactures and agriculture of the country, nor mended
    the circumstances of its inhabitants. Spain and Portugal, the countries
    which possess the mines, are, after Poland, perhaps the two most beggarly
    countries in Europe. The value of the precious metals, however, must be
    lower in Spain and Portugal than in any other part of Europe, as they come
    from those countries to all other parts of Europe, loaded, not only with a
    freight and an insurance, but with the expense of smuggling, their
    exportation being either prohibited or subjected to a duty. In proportion to
    the annual produce of the land and labour, therefore, their quantity must be
    greater in those countries than in any other part of Europe; those
    countries, however, are poorer than the greater part of Europe. Though the
    feudal system has been abolished in Spain and Portugal, it has not been
    succeeded by a much better.

    As the low value of gold and silver, therefore, is no proof of the wealth
    and flourishing state of the country where it takes place ; so neither is
    their high value, or the low money price either of goods in general, or of
    corn in particular, any proof of its poverty and barbarism.

    But though the low money price, either of goods in general, or of corn in
    particular, be no proof of the poverty or barbarism of the times, the low
    money price of some particular sorts of goods, such as cattle, poultry, game
    of all kinds, etc. in proportion to that of corn, is a most decisive one. It
    clearly demonstrates, first, their great abundance in proportion to that of
    corn, and, consequently, the great extent of the land which they occupied in
    proportion to what was occupied by corn ; and, secondly, the low value of
    this land in proportion to that of corn land, and, consequently, the
    uncultivated and unimproved state of the far greater part of the lands of
    the country. It clearly demonstrates, that the stock and population of the
    country did not bear the same proportion to the extent of its territory,
    which they commonly do in civilized countries ; and that society was at that
    time, and in that country, but in its infancy. From the high or low money
    price, either of goods in general, or of corn in particular, we can infer
    only, that the mines, which at that time happened to supply the commercial
    world with gold and silver, were fertile or barren, not that the country was
    rich or poor. But from the high or low money price of some sorts of goods in
    proportion to that of others, we can infer, with a degree of probability
    that approaches almost to certainty, that it was rich or poor, that the
    greater part of its lands were improved or unimproved, and that it was
    either in a more or less barbarous state, or in a more or less civilized
    one.

    Any rise in the money price of goods which proceeded altogether from the
    degradation of the value of silver, would affect all sorts of goods equally,
    and raise their price universally, a third, or a fourth, or a fifth part
    higher, according as silver happened to lose a third, or a fourth, or a
    fifth part of its former value. But the rise in the price of provisions,
    which has been the subject of so much reasoning and conversation, does not
    affect all sorts of provisions equally. Taking the course of the present
    century at an average, the price of corn, it is acknowledged, even by those
    who account for this rise by the degradation of the value of silver, has
    risen much less than that of some other sorts of provisions. The rise in the
    price of those other sorts of provisions, therefore, cannot be owing
    altogether to the degradation of the value of silver. Some other causes must
    be taken into the account ; and those which have been above assigned, will,
    perhaps, without having recourse to the supposed degradation of the value of
    silver, sufficiently explain this rise in those particular sorts of
    provisions, of which the price has actually risen in proportion to that of
    corn.

    As to the price of corn itself, it has, during the sixty-four first years of
    the present century, and before the late extraordinary course of bad
    seasons, been somewhat lower than it was during the sixty-four last years of
    the preceding century. This fact is attested, not only by the accounts of
    Windsor market, but by the public fiars of all the different counties of
    Scotland, and by the accounts of several different markets in France, which
    have been collected with great diligence and fidelity by Mr Messance, and by
    Mr Dupré de St Maur. The evidence is more complete than could well have been
    expected in a matter which is naturally so very difficult to be ascertained.

    As to the high price of corn during these last ten or twelve years, it can
    be sufficiently accounted for from the badness of the seasons, without
    supposing any degradation in the value of silver.

    The opinion, therefore, that silver is continually sinking in its value,
    seems not to be founded upon any good observations, either upon the prices
    of corn, or upon those of other provisions.

    The same quantity of silver, it may perhaps be said, will, in the present
    times, even according to the account which has been here given, purchase a
    much smaller quantity of several sorts of provisions than it would have done
    during some part of the last century ; and to ascertain whether this change
    be owing to a rise in the value of those goods, or to a fall in the value of
    silver, is only to establish a vain and useless distinction, which can be of
    no sort of service to the man who has only a certain quantity of silver to
    go to market with, or a certain fixed revenue in money. I certainly do not
    pretend that the knowledge of this distinction will enable him to buy
    cheaper. It may not, however, upon that account be altogether useless.

    It may be of some use to the public, by affording an easy proof of the
    prosperous condition of the country. If the rise in the price of some sorts
    of provisions be owing altogether to a fall in the value of silver, it is
    owing to a circumstance, from which nothing can be inferred but the
    fertility of the American mines. The real wealth of the country, the annual
    produce of its land and labour, may, notwithstanding this circumstance, be
    either gradually declining, as in Portugal and Poland ; or gradually
    advancing, as in most other parts of Europe. But if this rise in the price
    of some sorts of provisions be owing to a rise in the real value of the land
    which produces them, to its increased fertility, or, in consequence of more
    extended improvement and good cultivation, to its having been rendered fit
    for producing corn; it is owing to a circumstance which indicates, in the
    clearest manner, the prosperous and advancing state of the country. The land
    constitutes by far the greatest, the most important, and the most durable
    part of the wealth of every extensive country. It may surely be of some use,
    or, at least, it may give some satisfaction to the public, to have so
    decisive a proof of the increasing value of by far the greatest, the most
    important, and the most durable part of its wealth.

    It may, too, be of some use to the public, in regulating the pecuniary
    reward of some of its inferior servants. If this rise in the price of some
    sorts of provisions be owing to a fall in the value of silver, their
    pecuniary reward, provided it was not too large before, ought certainly to
    be augmented in proportion to the extent of this fall. If it is not
    augmented, their real recompence will evidently be so much diminished. But
    if this rise of price is owing to the increased value, in consequence of the
    improved fertility of the land which produces such provisions, it becomes a
    much nicer matter to judge, either in what proportion any pecuniary reward
    ought to be augmented, or whether it ought to be augmented at all. The
    extension of improvement and cultivation, as it necessarily raises more or
    less, in proportion to the price of corn, that of every sort of animal food,
    so it as necessarily lowers that of, I believe, every sort of vegetable
    food. It raises the price of animal food ; because a great part of the land
    which produces it, being rendered fit for producing corn, must afford to the
    landlord anti farmer the rent and profit of corn land. It lowers the price
    of vegetable food; because, by increasing the fertility of the land, it
    increases its abundance. The improvements of agriculture, too, introduce
    many sorts of vegetable food, which requiring less land, and not more labour
    than corn, come much cheaper to market. Such are potatoes and maize, or what
    is called Indian corn, the two most important improvements which the
    agriculture of Europe, perhaps, which Europe itself, has received from the
    great extension of its commerce and navigation. Many sorts of vegetable
    food, besides, which in the rude state of agriculture are confined to the
    kitchen-garden, and raised only by the spade, come, in its improved state,
    to be introduced into common fields, and to be raised by the plough ; such
    as turnips, carrots, cabbages, etc. If, in the progress of improvement,
    therefore, the real price of one species of food necessarily rises, that of
    another as necessarily falls ; and it becomes a matter of more nicety to
    judge how far the rise in the one may be compensated by the fall in the
    other. When the real price of butcher's meat has once got to its height
    (which, with regard to every sort, except perhaps that of hogs flesh, it
    seems to have done through a great part of England more than a century ago),
    any rise which can afterwards happen in that of any other sort of animal
    food, cannot much affect the circumstances of the inferior ranks of people.
    The circumstances of the poor, through a great part of England, cannot
    surely be so much distressed by any rise in the price of poultry, fish,
    wild-fowl, or venison, as they must be relieved by the fall in that of
    potatoes.

    In the present season of scarcity, the high price of corn no doubt
    distresses the poor. But in times of moderate plenty, when corn is at its
    ordinary or average price, the natural rise in the price of any other sort
    of rude produce cannot much affect them. They suffer more, perhaps, by the
    artificial rise which has been occasioned by taxes in the price of some
    manufactured commodities, as of salt, soap, leather, candles, malt, beer,
    ale, etc.

    Effects of the Progress of Improvement upon the real Price of Manufactures.

    It is the natural effect of improvement, however, to diminish gradually the
    real price of almost all manufactures. That of the manufacturing workmanship
    diminishes, perhaps, in all of them without exception. In consequence of
    better machinery, of greater dexterity, and of a more proper division and
    distribution of work, all of which are the natural effects of improvement, a
    much smaller quantity of labour becomes requisite for executing any
    particular piece of work ; and though, in consequence of the flourishing
    circumstances of the society, the real price of labour should rise very
    considerably, yet the great diminution of the quantity will generally much
    more than compensate the greatest rise which can happen in the price.

    There are, indeed, a few manufactures, in which the necessary rise in the
    real price of the rude materials will more than compensate all the
    advantages which improvement can introduce into the execution of the work In
    carpenters' and joiners' work, and in the coarser sort of cabinet work, the
    necessary rise in the real price of barren timber, in consequence of the
    improvement of land, will more than compensate all the advantages which can
    be derived from the best machinery, the greatest dexterity, and the most
    proper division and distribution of work.

    But in all cases in which the real price of the rude material either does
    not rise at all, or does not rise very much, that of the manufactured
    commodity sinks very considerably.

    This diminution of price has, in the course of the present and preceding
    century, been most remarkable in those manufactures of which the materials
    are the coarser metals. A better movement of a watch, than about the middle
    of the last century could have been bought for twenty pounds, may now
    perhaps be had for twenty shillings. In the work of cutlers and locksmiths,
    in all the toys which are made of the coarser metals, and in all those goods
    which are commonly known by the name of Birmingham and Sheffield ware, there
    has been, during the same period, a very great reduction of price, though
    not altogether so great as in watch-work. It has, however, been sufficient
    to astonish the workmen of every other part of Europe, who in many cases
    acknowledge that they can produce no work of equal goodness for double
    or even for triple the price. There are perhaps no manufactures, in which
    the division of labour can be carried further, or in which the machinery
    employed admits of' a greater variety of improvements, than those of which
    the materials are the coarser metals.

    In the clothing manufacture there has, during the same period, been no such
    sensible reduction of price. The price of superfine cloth, I have been
    assured, on the contrary, has, within these five-and-twenty or thirty years,
    risen somewhat in proportion to its quality, owing, it was said, to a
    considerable rise in the price of the material, which consists altogether of
    Spanish wool. That of the Yorkshire cloth, which is made altogether of
    English wool, is said, indeed, during the course of the present century, to
    have fallen a good deal in proportion to its quality. Quality, however, is
    so very disputable a matter, that I look upon all information of this kind
    as somewhat uncertain. In the clothing manufacture, the division of labour
    is nearly the same now as it was a century ago, and the machinery employed
    is not very different. There may, however, have been some small improvements
    in both, which may have occasioned some reduction of price.

    But the reduction will appear much more sensible and undeniable, if we
    compare the price of this manufacture in the present times with what it was
    in a much remoter period, towards the end of the fifteenth century, when the
    labour was probably much less subdivided, and the machinery employed much
    more imperfect, than it is at present.

    In 1487, being the 4th of Henry VII., it was enacted, that " whosoever shall
    sell by retail a broad yard of the finest scarlet grained, or of other
    grained cloth of the finest making, above sixteen shillings, shall forfeit
    forty shillings for every yard so sold." Sixteen shillings, therefore,
    containing about the same quantity of silver as four-and-twenty shillings of
    our present money, was, at that time, reckoned not an unreasonable price for
    a yard of the finest cloth; and as this is a sumptuary law, such cloth, it
    is probable, had usually been sold somewhat dearer. A guinea may be reckoned
    the highest price in the present times. Even though the quality of the
    cloths, therefore, should be supposed equal, and that of the present times
    is most probably much superior, yet, even upon this supposition, the money
    price of the finest cloth appears to have been considerably reduced since
    the end of the fifteenth century. But its real price has been much more
    reduced. Six shillings and eightpence was then, and long afterwards,
    reckoned the average price of a quarter of wheat. Sixteen shillings,
    therefore, was the price of two quarters and more than three bushels of
    wheat. Valuing a quarter of wheat in the present times at eight-and-twenty
    shillings, the real price of a yard of fine cloth must, in those times, have
    been equal to at least three pounds six shillings and sixpence of our
    present money. The man who bought it must have parted with the command of a
    quantity of labour and subsistence equal to what that sum would purchase in
    the present times.

    The reduction in the real price of the coarse manufacture, though
    considerable, has not been so great as in that of the fine.

    In 1463, being the 3rd of Edward IV. it was enacted, that "no servant in
    husbandry nor common labourer, nor servant to any artificer inhabiting out
    of a city or burgh, shall use or wear in their clothing any cloth above two
    shillings the broad yard." In the 3rd of Edward IV., two shillings contained
    very nearly the same quantity of silver as four of our present money. But
    the Yorkshire cloth which is now sold at four shillings the yard, is
    probably much superior to any that was then made for the wearing of the very
    poorest order of common servants. Even the money price of their clothing,
    therefore, may, in proportion to the quality, be somewhat cheaper in the
    present than it was in those ancient times. The real price is certainly a
    good deal cheaper. Tenpence was then reckoned what is called the moderate
    and reasonable price of a bushel of wheat. Two shillings, therefore, was the
    price of two bushels and near two pecks of wheat, which in the present
    times, at three shillings and sixpence the bushel, would be worth eight
    shillings and ninepence. For a yard of this cloth the poor servant must have
    parted with the power of purchasing a quantity of subsistence equal to what
    eight shillings and ninepence would purchase in the present times. This is a
    sumptuary law, too, restraining the luxury and extravagance of the poor.
    Their clothing, therefore, had commonly been much more expensive.

    The same order of people are, by the same law, prohibited from wearing hose,
    of which the price should exceed fourteen-pence the pair, equal to about
    eight-and-twenty pence of our present money. But fourteen-pence was in those
    times the price of a bushel and near two pecks of wheat; which in the
    present times, at three and sixpence the bushel, would cost five shillings
    and threepence. We should in the present times consider this as a very high
    price for a pair of stockings to a servant of the poorest and lowest order.
    He must however, in those times, have paid what was really equivalent to
    this price for them.

    In the time of Edward IV. the art of knitting stockings was probably not
    known in any part of Europe. Their hose were made of common cloth, which may
    have been one of the causes of their dearness. The first person that wore
    stockings in England is said to have been Queen Elizabeth. She received them
    as a present from the Spanish ambassador.

    Both in the coarse and in the fine woollen manufacture, the machinery
    employed was much more imperfect in those ancient, than it is in the present
    times. It has since received three very capital improvements, besides,
    probably, many smaller ones, of which it may be difficult to ascertain
    either the number or the importance. The three capital improvements are,
    first, the exchange of the rock and spindle for the spinning-wheel, which,
    with the same quantity of labour, will perform more than double the quantity
    of work. Secondly, the use of several very ingenious machines, which
    facilitate and abridge, in a still greater proportion, the winding of the
    worsted and woollen yarn, or the proper arrangement of the warp and woof
    before they are put into the loom ; an operation which, previous to the
    invention of those machines, must have been extremely tedious and
    troublesome.Thirdly, the employment of the fulling-mill for thickening the
    cloth, instead of treading it in water. Neither wind nor water mills of any
    kind were known in England so early as the beginning of the sixteenth
    century, nor, so far as I know, in any other part of Europe north of the
    Alps. They had been introduced into Italy some time before.

    The consideration of these circumstances may, perhaps, in some measure,
    explain to us why the real price both of the coarse and of the fine
    manufacture was so much higher in those ancient than it is in the present
    times. It cost a greater quantity of labour to bring the goods to market.
    When they were brought thither, therefore, they must have purchased, or
    exchanged for the price of, a greater quantity.

    The coarse manufacture probably was, in those ancient times, carried on in
    England in the same manner as it always has been in countries where arts and
    manufactures are in their infancy. It was probably a household manufacture,
    in which every different part of the work was occasionally performed by all
    the different members of almost every private family, but so as to be their
    work only when they had nothing else to do, and not to be the principal
    business from which any of them derived the greater part of their
    subsistence. The work which is performed in this manner, it has already been
    observed, comes always much cheaper to market than that which is the
    principal or sole fund of the workman's subsistence. The fine manufacture,
    on the other hand, was not, in those times, carried on in England, but in
    the rich and commercial country of Flanders; and it was probably conducted
    then, in the same manner as now, by people who derived the whole, or the
    principal part of their subsistence from it. It was, besides, a foreign
    manufacture, and must have paid some duty, the ancient custom of tonnage and
    poundage at least, to the king. This duty, indeed, would not probably be
    very great. It was not then the policy of Europe to restrain, by high
    duties, the importation of foreign manufactures, but rather to encourage it,
    in order that merchants might be enabled to supply, at as easy a rate as
    possible, the great men with the conveniencies and luxuries which they
    wanted, and which the industry of their own country could not afford them.

    The consideration of these circumstances may, perhaps, in some measure
    explain to us why, in those ancient times, the real price of the coarse
    manufacture was, in proportion to that of the fine, so much lower than in
    the present times.

    Conclusion of the Chapter.

    I shall conclude this very long chapter with observing, that every
    improvement in the circumstances of the society tends, either directly or
    indirectly, to raise the real rent of land to increase the real wealth of
    the landlord, his power of purchasing the labour, or the produce of the
    labour of other people.

    The extension of improvement and cultivation tends to raise it directly. The
    landlord's share of the produce necessarily increases with the increase of
    the produce.

    That rise in the real price of those parts of the rude produce of land,
    which is first the effect of the extended improvement and cultivation, and
    afterwards the cause of their being still further extended, the rise in the
    price of cattle, for example, tends, too, to raise the rent of land
    directly, and in a still greater proportion. The real value of the
    landlord's share, his real command of the labour of other people, not only
    rises with the real value of the produce, but the proportion of his share to
    the whole produce rises with it.

    That produce, after the rise in its real price, requires no more labour to
    collect it than before. A smaller proportion of it will, therefore, be
    sufficient to replace, with the ordinary profit, the stock which employs
    that labour. A greater proportion of it must consequently belong to the
    landlord.

    All those improvements in the productive powers of labour, which tend
    directly to reduce the rent price of manufactures, tend indirectly to raise
    the real rent of land. The landlord exchanges that part of his rude produce,
    which is over and above his own consumption, or, what comes to the same
    thing, the price of that part of it, for manufactured produce. Whatever
    reduces the real price of the latter, raises that of the former. An equal
    quantity of the former becomes thereby equivalent to a greater quantity of
    the latter ; and the landlord is enabled to purchase a greater quantity of
    the conveniencies, ornaments, or luxuries which he has occasion for.

    Every increase in the real wealth of the society, every increase in the
    quantity of useful labour employed within it, tends indirectly to raise the
    real rent of land. A certain proportion of this labour naturally goes to
    the land. A greater number of men and cattle are employed in its
    cultivation, the produce increases with the increase of the stock which is
    thus employed in raising it, and the rent increases with the produce.

    The contrary circumstances, the neglect of cultivation and improvement, the
    fall in the real price of any part of the rude produce of land, the rise in
    the real price of manufactures from the decay of manufacturing art and
    industry, the declension of the real wealth of the society, all tend, on
    the other hand, to lower the real rent of land, to reduce the real wealth of
    the landlord, to diminish his power of purchasing either the labour, or the
    produce of the labour, of other people.

    The whole annual produce of the land and labour of every country, or, what
    comes to the same thing, the whole price of that annual produce, naturally
    divides itself, it has already been observed, into three parts; the rent of
    land, the wages of labour, and the profits of stock ; and constitutes a
    revenue to three different orders of people; to those who live by rent, to
    those who live by wages, and to those who live by profit. These are the
    three great, original, and constituent, orders of every civilized society,
    from whose revenue that of every other order is ultimately derived.

    The interest of the first of those three great orders, it appears from what
    has been just now said, is strictly and inseparably connected with the
    general interest of the society. Whatever either promotes or obstructs the
    one, necessarily promotes or obstructs the other. When the public
    deliberates concerning any regulation of commerce or police, the proprietors
    of land never can mislead it, with a view to promote the interest of their
    own particular order ; at least, if they have any tolerable knowledge of
    that interest. They are, indeed, too often defective in this tolerable
    knowledge. They are the only one of the three orders whose revenue costs
    them neither labour nor care, but comes to them, as it were, of its own
    accord, and independent of any plan or project of their own. That indolence
    which is the natural effect of the ease and security of their situation,
    renders them too often, not only ignorant, but incapable of that application
    of mind, which is necessary in order to foresee and understand the
    consequence of any public regulation.

    The interest of the second order, that of those who live by wages, is as
    strictly connected with the interest of the society as that of the first.
    The wages of the labourer, it has already been shewn, are never so high as
    when the demand for labour is continually rising, or when the quantity
    employed is every year increasing considerably. When this real wealth of the
    society becomes stationary, his wages are soon reduced to what is barely
    enough to enable him to bring up a family, or to continue the race of
    labourers. When the society declines, they fall even below this. The order
    of proprietors may perhaps gain more by the prosperity of the society than
    that of labourers; but there is no order that suffers so cruelly from its
    decline. But though the interest of the labourer is strictly connected with
    that of the society, he is incapable either of comprehending that interest,
    or of understanding its connexion with his own. His condition leaves him no
    time to receive the necessary information, and his education and habits are
    commonly such as to render him unfit to judge, even though he was fully
    informed. In the public deliberations, therefore, his voice is little heard,
    and less regarded; except upon particular occasions, when his clamour is
    animated, set on, and supported by his employers, not for his, but their own
    particular purposes.

    His employers constitute the third order, that of those who live by profit.
    It is the stock that is employed for the sake of profit, which puts into
    motion the greater part of the useful labour of every society. The plans and
    projects of the employers of stock regulate and direct all the most
    important operation of labour, and profit is the end proposed by all those
    plans and projects. But the rate of profit does not, like rent and wages,
    rise with the prosperity, and fall with the declension of the society. On
    the contrary, it is naturally low in rich, and high in poor countries, and
    it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin. The
    interest of this third order, therefore, has not the same connexion with the
    general interest of the society, as that of the other two. Merchants and
    master manufacturers are, in this order, the two classes of people who
    commonly employ the largest capitals, and who by their wealth draw to
    themselves the greatest share of the public consideration. As during their
    whole lives they are engaged in plans and projects, they have frequently
    more acuteness of understanding than the greater part of country gentlemen.
    As their thoughts, however, are commonly exercised rather about the interest
    of their own particular branch of business. than about that of the society,
    their judgment, even when given with the greatest candour (which it has not
    been upon every occasion), is much more to be depended upon with regard to
    the former of those two objects, than with regard to the latter. Their
    superiority over the country gentleman is, not so much in their knowledge of
    the public interest, as in their having a better knowledge of their own
    interest than he has of his. It is by this superior knowledge of their own
    interest that they have frequently imposed upon his generosity, and
    persuaded him to give up both his own interest and that of the public, from
    a very simple but honest conviction, that their interest, and not his, was
    the interest of the public. The interest of the dealers, however, in any
    particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some respects
    different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the
    market, and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the
    dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the
    interest of the public ; but to narrow the competition must always be
    against it, and can only serve to enable the dealers, by raising their
    profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit,
    an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens. The proposal of any
    new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always
    to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted till
    after having been long and carefully examined, not only with the most
    scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order
    of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public,
    who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public,
    and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed
    it.

    PRICES OF WHEAT



    Year Prices/Quarter Average of different Average prices of
    in each year prices in one year each year in money
    of 1776

    £ s d £ s d £ s d
    1202 0 12 0 1 16 0
    1205 0 12 0
    0 13 4 0 13 5 2 0 3
    0 15 0
    1223 0 12 0 1 16 0
    1237 0 3 4 0 10 0
    1243 0 2 0 0 6 0
    1244 0 2 0 0 6 0
    1246 0 16 0 2 8 0
    1247 0 13 5 2 0 0
    1257 1 4 0 3 12 0
    1258 1 0 0
    0 15 0 0 17 0 2 11 0
    0 16 0
    1270 4 16 0
    6 8 0 5 12 0 16 16 0
    1286 0 2 8
    0 16 0 0 9 4 1 8 0
    Total 35 9 3
    Average 2 19 1¼

    1287 0 3 4 0 10 0
    1288 0 0 8
    0 1 0
    0 1 4
    0 1 6
    0 1 8 0 3 0¼ 0 9 1¾
    0 2 0
    0 3 4
    0 9 4
    1289 0 12 0
    0 6 0
    0 2 0 0 10 1½ 1 10 4½
    0 10 8
    1 0 0
    1290 0 16 0 2 8 0
    1294 0 16 0 2 8 0
    1302 0 4 0 0 12 0
    1309 0 7 2 1 1 6
    1315 1 0 0 3 0 0
    1316 1 0 0
    1 10 0 1 10 6 4 11 6
    1 12 0
    2 0 0
    1317 2 4 0
    0 14 0
    2 13 0 1 19 6 5 18 6
    4 0 0
    0 6 8
    1336 0 2 0 0 6 0
    1338 0 3 4 0 10 0
    Total 23 4 11¼
    Average 1 18 8

    1339 0 9 0 1 7 0
    1349 0 2 0 0 5 2
    1359 1 6 8 3 2 2
    1361 0 2 0 0 4 8
    1363 0 15 0 1 15 0
    1369 1 0 0
    1 4 0 1 2 0 2 9 4
    1379 0 4 0 0 9 4
    1387 0 2 0 0 4 8
    1390 0 13 4
    0 14 0 0 14 5 1 13 7
    0 16 0
    1401 0 16 0 1 17 6
    1407 0 4 4¾
    0 3 4 0 3 10 0 8 10
    1416 0 16 0 1 12 0
    Total 15 9 4
    Average 1 5 9½

    1423 0 8 0 0
    1425 0 4 0 0
    1434 1 6 8 4
    1435 0 5 4 8
    1439 1 0 0
    1 6 8 1 3 4 2 6 8
    1440 1 4 0 2 8 0
    1444 0 4 4 0 4 2 0 4 8
    0 4 0
    1445 0 4 6 0 9 0
    1447 0 8 0 0 16 0
    1448 0 6 8 0 13 4
    1449 0 5 0 0 10 0
    1451 0 8 0 0 16 0
    Total 12 15 4
    Average 1 1 3¹/³

    1453 0 5 4 0 10 8
    1455 0 1 2 0 2 4
    1457 0 7 8 1 15 4
    1459 0 5 0 0 10 0
    1460 0 8 0 0 16 0
    1463 0 2 0 0 1 10 0 3 8
    0 1 8
    1464 0 6 8 0 10 0
    1486 1 4 0 1 17 0
    1491 0 14 8 1 2 0
    1494 0 4 0 0 6 0
    1495 0 3 4 0 5 0
    1497 1 0 0 1 11 0
    Total 8 9 0
    Average 0 14 1

    1499 0 4 0 0 6 0
    1504 0 5 8 0 8 6
    1521 1 0 0 1 10 0
    1551 0 8 0 0 8 0
    1553 0 8 0 0 8 0
    1554 0 8 0 0 8 0
    1555 0 8 0 0 8 0
    1556 0 8 0 0 8 0
    1557 0 8 0
    0 4 0 0 17 8½ 0 17 8½
    0 5 0
    2 13 4
    1558 0 8 0 0 8 0
    1559 0 8 0 0 8 0
    1560 0 8 0 0 8 0
    Total 6 0 2½
    Average 0 10 0½

    1561 0 8 0 0 8 0
    1562 0 8 0 0 8 0
    1574 2 16 0
    1 4 0 2 0 0 2 0 0
    1587 3 4 0 3 4 0
    1594 2 16 0 2 16 0
    1595 2 13 0 2 13 0
    1596 4 0 0 4 0 0
    1597 5 4 0
    4 0 0 4 12 0 4 12 0
    1598 2 16 8 2 16 8
    1599 1 19 2 1 19 8
    1600 1 17 8 1 17 8
    1601 1 14 10 1 14 10
    Total 28 9 4
    Average 2 7 5½


    PRICES OF THE QUARTER OF NINE BUSHELS OF THE BEST OR HIGHEST
    PRICED WHEAT AT WINDSOR MARKET, ON LADY DAY AND MICHAELMAS,
    FROM 1595 TO 1764 BOTH INCLUSIVE; THE PRICE OF EACH YEAR
    BEING THE MEDIUM BETWEEN THE HIGHEST PRICES OF THESE TWO
    MARKET DAYS.


    £ s d
    1595 2 0 0
    1596 2 8 0
    1597 3 9 6
    1598 2 16 8
    1599 1 19 2
    1600 1 17 8
    1601 1 14 10
    1602 1 9 4
    1603 1 15 4
    1604 1 10 8
    1605 1 15 10
    1606 1 13 0
    1607 1 16 8
    1608 2 16 8
    1609 2 10 0
    1610 1 15 10
    1611 1 18 8
    1612 2 2 4
    1613 2 8 8
    1614 2 1 8½
    1615 1 18 8
    1616 2 0 4
    1617 2 8 8
    1618 2 6 8
    1619 1 15 4
    1620 1 10 4
    26)54 0 6½
    Average 2 1 6¾

    1621 1 10 4
    1622 2 18 8
    1623 2 12 0
    1624 2 8 0
    1625 2 12 0
    1626 2 9 4
    1627 1 16 0
    1628 1 8 0
    1629 2 2 0
    1630 2 15 8
    1631 3 8 0
    1632 2 13 4
    1633 2 18 0
    1634 2 16 0
    1635 2 16 0
    1636 2 16 8
    16)40 0 0
    Average 2 10 0

    1637 2 13 0
    1638 2 17 4
    1639 2 4 10
    1640 2 4 8
    1641 2 8 0
    1646 2 8 0
    1647 3 13 0
    1648 4 5 0
    1649 4 0 0
    1650 3 16 8
    1651 3 13 4
    1652 2 9 6
    1653 1 15 6
    1654 1 6 0
    1655 1 13 4
    1656 2 3 0
    1657 2 6 8
    1658 3 5 0
    1659 3 6 0
    1660 2 16 6
    1661 3 10 0
    1662 3 14 0
    1663 2 17 0
    1664 2 0 6
    1665 2 9 4
    1666 1 16 0
    1667 1 16 0
    1668 2 0 0
    1669 2 4 4
    1670 2 1 8
    1671 2 2 0
    1672 2 1 0
    1673 2 6 8
    1674 3 8 8
    1675 3 4 8
    1676 1 18 0
    1677 2 2 0
    1678 2 19 0
    1679 3 0 0
    1680 2 5 0
    1681 2 6 8
    1682 2 4 0
    1683 2 0 0
    1684 2 4 0
    1685 2 6 8
    1686 1 14 0
    1687 1 5 2
    1688 2 6 0
    1689 1 10 0
    1690 1 14 8
    1691 1 14 0
    1692 2 6 8
    1693 3 7 8
    1694 3 4 0
    1695 2 13 0
    1696 3 11 0
    1697 3 0 0
    1698 3 8 4
    1699 3 4 0
    1700 2 0 0
    60) 153 1 8
    Average 2 11 0¹/³

    1701 1 17 8
    1702 1 9 6
    1703 1 16 0
    1704 2 6 6
    1705 1 10 0
    1706 1 6 0
    1707 1 8 6
    1708 2 1 6
    1709 3 18 6
    1710 3 18 0
    1711 2 14 0
    1712 2 6 4
    1713 2 11 0
    1714 2 10 4
    1715 2 3 0
    1716 2 8 0
    1717 2 5 8
    1718 1 18 10
    1719 1 15 0
    1720 1 17 0
    1721 1 17 6
    1722 1 16 0
    1723 1 14 8
    1724 1 17 0
    1725 2 8 6
    1726 2 6 0
    1727 2 2 0
    1728 2 14 6
    1729 2 6 10
    1730 1 16 6
    1731 1 12 10 1 12 10
    1732 1 6 8 1 6 8
    1733 1 8 4 1 8 4
    1734 1 18 10 1 18 10
    1735 2 3 0 2 3 0
    1736 2 0 4 2 0 4
    1737 1 18 0 1 18 0
    1738 1 15 6 1 15 6
    1739 1 18 6 1 18 6
    1740 2 10 8 2 10 8
    10) 18 12 8
    1 17 3½

    1741 2 6 8 2 6 8
    1742 1 14 0 1 14 0
    1743 1 4 10 1 4 10
    1744 1 4 10 1 4 10
    1745 1 7 6 1 7 6
    1746 1 19 0 1 19 0
    1747 1 14 10 1 14 10
    1748 1 17 0 1 17 0
    1749 1 17 0 1 17 0
    1750 1 12 6 1 12 6
    10) 16 18 2
    1 13 9¾

    1751 1 18 6
    1752 2 1 10
    1753 2 4 8
    1754 1 13 8
    1755 1 14 10
    1756 2 5 3
    1757 3 0 0
    1758 2 10 0
    1759 1 19 10
    1760 1 16 6
    1761 1 10 3
    1762 1 19 0
    1763 2 0 9
    1764 2 6 9
    64) 129 13 6
    Average 2 0 6¾
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