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affured, that at that place, and in thefe circum- CHA P. ftances, the price of coals is as high as it can be. It seems to be fo in fome of the inland parts of England, particularly in Oxfordshire, where it is ufual, even in the fires of the common people, to mix coals and wood together, and where the difference in the expence of thofe two forts of fewel cannot, therefore, be very great.

Coals, in the coal countries, are every-where much below this highest price. If they were not, they could not bear the expence of a diftant carriage, either by land or by water. A fmall quantity only could be fold, and the coal maf ters and coal proprietors find it more for their intereft to fell a great quantity at a price fomewhat above the loweft, than a fmall quantity at the higheft. 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 fomewhat underfelling all their neighbours. Their neighbours are foon obliged to fell at the fame price, though they cannot fo well afford it, and though it always diminishes, and fometimes 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 fold for any confiderable time, is, like that of all other commodities, the price which is barely fuf

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BOOK ficient to replace, together with its ordinary proI. fits, the stock which must be employed in bring

ing 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 muft 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 fuppofed to be a third of the grofs produce; and it is generally a rent certain and independent of the occafional variations in the crop. In coal-mines a fifth of the grofs produce is a very great rent; a tenth the common rent, and it is feldom a rent certain, but depends upon the occafional variations in the produce. Thefe are fo great, that in a country where thirty years purchafe is confidered as a moderate price for the property of a landed eftate, 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 fituation as upon its fertility. That of a metallic mine depends more upon its fertility, and lefs upon its fituation. The coarfe, and ftill more the precious metals, when feparated from the ore, are fo valuable that they can generally bear the expence of a very long land, and of the moft dif tant fea carriage. Their market is not confined to the countries in the neighbourhood of the


mine, but extends to the whole world. The CHA P. copper of Japan makes an article of commerce in Europe; the iron of Spain in that of Chili and Peru. The filver of Peru finds its way, not only to Europe, but from Europe to China,

The price of coals in Weftmorland or Shrop fhire can have little effect on their price at Newcaftle; and their price in the Lionnois can have none at all. The productions of fuch diftant 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 coarfe, and ftill more that of the precious metals, at the moft fertile mines in the world, muft neceffarily more or less affect their price at every other in it. The price of copper in Japan must have fome influence upon its price at the copper mines in Europe. The price of filver in Peru, or the quantity either of labour or of other goods which it will purchase there, muft have fome influence on its price, not only at the filver mines of Europe, but at those of China. After the discovery of the mines of Peru, the filver mines of Europe were, the greater part of them, abandoned. The value of filver was fo much reduced that their produce could no longer pay the expence of working them, or replace, with a profit, the food, cloaths, lodging, and other neceffaries which were confumed in that operation. This was the cafe too with the mines of Cuba and St. Domingo, and even with

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BOOK the ancient mines of Peru, after the discovery of thofe of Potofi.


The price of every metal at every mine, there fore, being regulated in fome 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 expence of working, and can feldom afford a very high rent to the landlord. Rent, accordingly, feems 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 pro. fit make up the greater part of both.

A fixth part of the grofs produce may be reckoned the average rent of the tin mines of Cornwall, the moft fertile that are known in the world, as we are told by the Rev. Mr. Borlace, vice-warden of the ftannaries. Some, he fays, afford more, and fome do not afford fo much. A fixth part of the grofs produce is the rent too of feveral very fertile lead mines in Scotland.

In the filver 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 filver, which till then might be confidered as the real rent of the greater part of the filver mines of Peru, the richest which have been known in the world. If there had been



no tax, this fifth would naturally have belonged CHAP. 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 fuppofed to amount to more than five per cent. or onetwentieth 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-fixth, you will find that the whole average rent of the tin mines of Cornwall, was to the whole average rent of the filver mines of Peru, as thirteen to twelve. But the filver mines of Peru are not now able to pay even this low rent, and the tax upon filver was, in 1736, reduced from one-fifth to one-tenth. Even this tax upon filver too gives more temptation to fmuggling than the tax of one-twentieth upon tin; and fmuggling must be much easier in the precious than in the bulky commodity. The tax of the King of Spain accordingly is faid 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 filver at the moft fertile filver mines in the world. After replacing the stock employed in working those different mines, together with its ordinary profits, the refidue which remains to the proprietor, is greater it feems in the coarfe, than in the precious metal.

Neither are the profits of the undertakers of filver mines commonly very great in Peru. The


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