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BOOK through the greater part of Europe, which necef.
farily gives a fort of monopoly to the countries
above this quantity of tobacco, can manage, they CHA P. reckon, four acres of Indian corn. To prevent the market from being overstocked too, they have fometimes, in plentiful years, we are told by Dr. Douglas *, (I fufpect he has been ill informed) burnt a certain quantity of tobacco for every negro, in the fame manner as the Dutch are faid to do of fpices. If fuch violent methods are neceffary to keep up the prefent price of tobacco, the superior advantage of its culture over that of corn, if it ftill has any, will not probably be of long continuance.
It is in this manner that the rent of the culti vated 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 lefs; because the land would immediately be turned to another ufe: And if any particular produce commonly affords more, it is because the quantity of land which can be fitted for it is too fmall to fupply the effectual demand.
In Europe corn is the principal produce of land which ferves immediately for human food. Except in particular fituations, 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 fituations, 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 thofe two countries.
*Douglas's Summary, vol. ii. p. 372, 373.
BOOK If in any country the common and favourite vegetable food of the people fhould be drawn from a plant of which the moft common land, with the fame or nearly the fame culture, produced a much greater quantity than the most fertile does of corn, the rent of the landlord, or the furplus quantity of food which would remain to him, after paying the labour and replacing the flock of the farmer together with its ordinary profits, would neceffarily be much greater. Whatever was the rate at which labour was commonly maintained in that country, this greater furplus could always maintain a greater quantity of it, and confequently 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 neceffaries and conveniencies of life with which the labour of other people could supply him, would neceffarily be much greater.
A rice field produces a much greater quantity of food than the moft fertile corn field. Two crops in the year from thirty to fixty bufhels each, are faid to be the ordinary produce of an acre. Though its cultivation, therefore, requires more labour, a much greater furplus remains after maintaining all that labour. In thofe 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 fhare of this greater furplus fhould belong to the landlord than in corn countries. In Carolina, where the
planters, as in other British colonies, are gene- CHA P. rally both farmers and landlords, and where rent confequently 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 cuftoms 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 feason a bog covered with water. It is unfit either for corn, or pafture, or vineyard, or, indeed, for any other vegetable produce that is very ufeful 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 cultivated 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 fuperior to what is produced by a field of wheat. Twelve thoufand weight of potatoes from an acre of land is not a greater produce than two thousand weight of wheat. The food or folid 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, fuch an acre of potatoes will still produce fix thousand weight of folid nourishment, three
BOOK times the quantity produced by the acre of I. wheat. An acre of potatoes is cultivated with lefs expence than an acre of wheat; the fallow, which generally precedes the fowing 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 fome rice countries, the common and favourite vegetable food of the people, fo as to occupy the fame proportion of the lands in tillage which wheat and other forts 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 furplus would remain after replacing all the stock and maintaining all the labour employed in cultivation. A greater share of this furplus too would belong to the landlord. Population would increafe, and rents would rife much beyond what they are at prefent.
The land which is fit for potatoes, is fit for almost every other useful vegetable. If they occupied the fame proportion of cultivated land which corn does at prefent, they would regulate, in the fame manner, the rent of the greater part of other cultivated land.
In fome 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 I have frequently heard the fame doctrine held in Scotland. I am, however, fomewhat doubtful of the truth of it. The com