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There is then more bread than butcher's-meat. C H A P. The competition changes its direction, and the price of butcher's-meat becomes greater than the price of bread.
By the extenfion befides of cultivation, the unimproved wilds become infufficient 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 fufficient to pay, not only the labour neceffary for tending them, but the rent which the landlord and the profit which the farmer could have drawn from fuch land employed in tillage. The cattle bred upon the moft uncultivated moors, when brought to the fame market, are, in proportion to their weight or goodness, fold at the fame price as thofe 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 oat-meal. The union opened the market of England to the Highland cattle. Their ordinary price is at prefent about three times greater than at the beginning of the century, and the rents of many Highland eftates have been tripled and quadrupled in the fame time. In almost every part of Great Britain a pound of the best butcher's-meat, is in the prefent times, generally worth more than two pounds of the beft white bread; and in plentiful
BOOK plentiful years it is fometimes worth three or four
It is thus that in the progrefs of improvement the rent and profit of unimproved pasture come to be regulated in fome 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 fpecies of food than of the other, the inferiority of the quantity must be compensated by the fuperiority of the price. If it was more than compenfated, more corn land would be turned into pasture; and if it was not compen fated, part of what was in pafture would be brought back into corn.
This equality, however, between the rent and profit of grafs 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 fome particular local fituations it is quite otherwise, and the rent and profit of grafs are much fuperior to what can be made by corn.
Thus in the neighbourhood of a great town, the demand for milk and for forage to horfes, frequently contribute, together with the high price of butcher's meat, to raife the value of grafs above what may be portion to that of corn.
called its natural proThis local advantage,
it is evident, cannot be communicated to the c H A P. lands at a distance.
Particular circumstances have fometimes rendered fome countries fo populous, that the whole territory, like the lands in the neighbourhood of a great town, has not been fufficient to produce both the grafs and the corn neceffary for the fubfiftence of their inhabitants. Their lands, therefore, have been principally employed in the production of grafs, the more bulky commodity, and which cannot be fo eafily 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 fituation, and a confiderable part of ancient Italy feems to have been fo during the profperity of the Romans. To feed well, old Cato faid, as we are told by Cicero, was the first and moft profitable thing in the management of a private eftate; to feed tolerably well, the fecond; 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 neighbourhood of Rome, muft have been very much difcouraged by the diftributions 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 feveral, instead of taxes, were obliged to furnish a tenth part of their produce at a stated price, about fixpence a peck, to the republic. The low price at which this corn was distri
BOOK buted to the people, must neceffarily have funk
the price of what could be brought to the Roman market from Latium, or the ancient territory of Rome, and must have difcouraged its cultivation in that country.
In an open country too, of which the prin cipal produce is corn, a well-enclofed piece of grafs will frequently rent higher than any cornfield 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 cafe, not fo 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 enclosed. The prefent high rent of enclofed land in Scotland feems owing to the fcarcity of enclosure, and will probably last no longer than that fcarcity. The advantage of enclosure is greater for pafture than for corn, It faves 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 elfe is the common vegetable food of the people, muft naturally regulate, upon the land which is fit for producing it, the rent and profit of pasture,
The ufe of the artificial graffes, 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 grafs, fhould fome- c H A P what reduce, it might be expected, the fuperiority 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 fome reafon 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 faid, that the four quarters of an ox weighing fix hundred pounds ufually coft him nine pounds ten fhillings or thereabouts; that is, thirty-one fhillings 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 provifions at that time. It was then, among other proof to the fame purpose, given in evidence by a Virginia merchant, that in March 1763, he had victualled his fhips for twenty-four or twenty-five fhillings the hundred weight of beef, which he confidered as the ordinary price; whereas, in that dear year, he had paid twentyfeven fhillings for the fame weight and fort. This high price in 1764 is, however, four fhil lings and eight-pence cheaper than the ordinary