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BOOK 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 cultiva tion of land the labour of one family can provide food for two, the labour of half the fociety becomes fufficient 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 fatisfying the other wants and fancies of mankind. Cloathing and lodg ing, houfhold furniture, and what is called Equipage, are the principal objects of the greater part of thofe wants and fancies. The rich man confumes no more food than his poor neighbour. In quality it may be very different, and to felect and prepare it may require more labour and art; but in quantity it is very nearly the fame.
But compare the fpacious palace and great wardrobe of the one, with the hovel and the few rags of the other, and you will be fenfible that the difference between their cloathing, lodging, and houfhold furniture, is almost as great in quantity as it is in quality. The defire of food is limited in every man by the narrow capacity of the human ftomach; but the defire of the conveniences and ornaments of building, drefs, equipage, and houfhold furniture, feems to have no limit or certain boundary. Thofe, therefore, who have the command of more food than they themselves can confume, are always willing to exchange the furplus, or, what is the fame thing, the price of it, for gra
tifications of this other kind.
What is over and CHA P.
above fatisfying the limited defire, is given for the amusement of thofe defires which cannot be fatisfied, but feem to be altogether endless. The poor, in order to obtain food, exert themselves to gratify thofe fancies of the rich, and to obtain it more certainly, they vie with one another in the cheapnefs and perfection of their work. The number of workmen increases with the increaf ing quantity of food, or with the growing improvement and cultivation of the lands; and as the nature of their bufinefs 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 arifes a demand for every fort of materials which human invention can employ, either usefully or ornamentally, in building, dress, equipage, or houfhold furniture; for the foffils and minerals contained in the bowels of the earth, the precious metals, and the precious ftones.
Food is in this manner, not only the original fource 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.
Thofe 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 fuch as to afford a greater price than
BOOK what is fufficient to pay the labour, and replace, together with its ordinary profits, the ftock which must be employed in bringing them to market. Whether it is or is not fuch, depends upon different circumftances.
Whether a coal-mine, for example, can afford any rent, depends partly upon its fertility, and partly upon its fituation.
A mine of any kind may be faid 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 fame kind.
Some coal-mines advantageoufly fituated, cannot be wrought on account of their barrennefs. The produce does not pay the expence. They can afford neither profit nor rent.
There are fome of which the produce is barely fufficient to pay the labourer, and replace, together with its ordinary profits, the stock employed in working them. They afford fome 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 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 elfe to work them .without paying fome rent, and nobody can afford to pay any.
Other coal-mines in the fame country fuffi- CHA P. ciently fertile, cannot be wrought on account of their fituation. A quantity of mineral fufficient to defray the expence of working, could be brought from the mine by the ordinary, or even lefs 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 fold.
Coals are a lefs agreeable fewel than wood: they are faid too to be lefs wholefome. The expence of coals, therefore, at the place where they are confumed, muft generally be fomewhat lefs than that of wood.
The price of wood again varies with the state of agriculture, nearly in the fame manner, and exactly for the fame 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 progrefs of tillage, and partly go to decay in confequence of the increafed number of cattle. Thefe, though they do not increase in the fame proportion as corn, which is altogether the acquifition of human induftry, yet multiply under the care and protection of men; who store up in the feafon of plenty what may maintain them in that of fcarcity, who through the whole year furnish them with a greater quantity of food than uncultivated nature provides for them, and who, by deftroy
BOOK ing and extirpating their enemies, fecure 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, fo that in the course of a century or two the whole foreft goes to ruin. The fcarcity of wood then raifes its price. It affords a good rent, and the landlord fometimes finds that he can scarce employ his beft lands more advantageoufly than in growing barren timber, of which the greatnefs of the profit often compen fates the latenefs of the returns. This feems in the prefent times to be nearly the state of things in feveral parts of Great Britain, where the profit of planting is found to be equal to that of either corn or pafture. The advantage which the landlord derives from planting, can nowhere exceed, at leaft for any confiderable time, the rent which thefe could afford him; and in an inland country which is highly cultivated, it will frequently not fall much fhort of this rent. Upon the fea-coaft of a well-improved country, indeed, if coals can conveniently be had for fewel, it may fometimes be cheaper to bring barren timber for building from lefs cultivated foreign countries, than to raife it at home. In the new town of Edinburgh, built within thefe few years, there is not, perhaps, a single stick of Scotch timber.
Whatever may be the price of wood, if that of coals is fuch that the expence of a coal-fire is nearly equal to that of a wood one, we may be