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for them, though that of the country which pro- c HA P. duces them might not occafion 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 beaft, than in countries where, improvement and population being further advanced, there is more demand for butcher'smeat. Mr. Hume obferves, that in the Saxon times, the fleece was estimated at two-fifths of the value of the whole fheep, and that this was much above the proportion of its prefent estimation. In fome provinces of Spain, I have been affured, the sheep is frequently killed merely for the fake of the fleece and the tallow. The carcafe is often left to rot upon the ground, or to be devoured by beafts and birds of prey. If this fometimes 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 fake of the hide and the tallow. This too used to happen almoft conftantly in Hifpaniola, while it was infefted by the Buccaneers, and before the fettlement, improvement, and populoufnefs of the French plantations (which now extend round the coaft of almost the whole western half of the island) had given fome value to the cattle of the Spaniards, who still continue to poffefs, not only the eastern part of the coaft, but the whole inland and mountainous part of the country.
Though in the progrefs of improvement and population, the price of the whole beaft neceffarily rises, yet the price of the carcase is likely to be much more affected by this rife than that of the wool and the hide. The market for the car. cafe, being in the rude ftate of fociety confined always to the country which produces it, muft neceffarily 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 feldom be enlarged in the fame proportion. The state of the whole commercial world can feldom be much affected by the improvement of any particular country; and the market for fuch commodities may remain the fame, or very nearly the fame, after fuch improvements, as before. It should, however, in the natural courfe of things, rather upon the whole be fomewhat extended in confequence of them. If the manufactures, efpecially, 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 ufually been the expence of transporting them to distant countries. Though it might not rife therefore in the fame proportion as that of butcher's-meat, it ought naturally to rife fomewhat, and it ought certainly not to fall.
In England, however, notwithstanding the CHA P. flourishing state of its woollen manufacture, the XI. price of English wool has fallen very confiderably fince the time of Edward III. There are many authentic records which demonftrate that during the reign of that prince (towards the middle of the fourteenth century, or about 1339) what was reckoned the moderate and reafonable price of the tod or twenty-eight pounds of English wool, was not lefs than ten fhillings of the money of thofe times, containing, at the rate of twentypence the ounce, fix ounces of filver Towerweight, equal to about thirty fhillings of our prefent money. In the prefent times, one-andtwenty fhillings the tod may be reckoned a good price for very good English wool. The moneyprice of wool, therefore, in the time of Edward III., was to its money-price in the prefent times as ten to feven. The fuperiority of its real price was ftill greater. At the rate of fix fhillings and eight-pence the quarter, ten fhillings was in those ancient times the price of twelve bushels of wheat. At the rate of twentyeight fhillings the quarter, one-and-twenty fhillings is in the present times the price of fix bufhels only. The proportion between the real prices of ancient and modern times, therefore, is as twelve to fix, or as two to one. In thofe ancient times a tod of wool would have purchafed twice the quantity of fubfiftence which it will purchase at prefent; and consequently twice
See Smith's Memoirs of Wool, vol. i. c. 5, 6, and 7; alfo, vol. ii, c. 176.
BOOK the quantity of labour, if the real recompence of labour had been the fame in both periods.
This degradation both in the real and nominal value of wool could never have happened in confequence of the natural courfe of things. It has accordingly been the effect of violence and artifice First, of the abfolute prohibition of exporting wool from England; Secondly, of the permiffion of importing it from Spain duty free; Thirdly, of the prohibition of exporting it from Ireland to any other country but England. In confequence of thefe regulations, the market for English wool, inftead of being fomewhat extended in confequence of the improvement of England, has been confined to the home market, where the wool of feveral 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 difcouraged as is confiftent with justice and fair dealing, the Irish can work up but a small part of their own wool at home, and are, therefore, obliged to fend 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 an cient times. Wool was commonly paid as a fubfidy to the king, and its valuation in that fubfidy ascertains, at least in some degree, what was its ordinary price. But this feems not to have been the cafe with raw hides. Fleetwood, however, from an account in 1425, between the prior
of Burcefter Oxford and one of his canons, gives CHA P.. us their price, at least as it was ftated, upon that particular occafion, viz. five ox hides at twelve fhillings; five cow hides at feven fhillings and three-pence; thirty-fix fheep fkins of two years old at nine fhillings; fixteen calves fkins at two fhillings. In 1425, twelve fhillings contained about the fame quantity of filver as four-andtwenty fhillings of our prefent money. An ox hide, therefore, was in this account valued at the fame quantity of filver as 4s. ths of our prefent money. Its nominal price was a good deal lower than at prefent. But at the rate of fix fhillings and eight-pence the quarter, twelve fhillings would in those times have purchased fourteen bushels and four-fifths of a bufhel of wheat, which, at three and fix-pence the bufhel, would in the prefent times coft 51s. 4d. An ox hide, therefore, would in those times have purchafed as much corn as ten fhillings and threepence would purchase at prefent. Its real value was equal to ten fhillings and three-pence of our prefent money. In thofe ancient times, when the cattle were half starved during the greater part of the winter, we cannot fuppofe that they were of a very large fize. An ox hide, which weighs four ftone of fixteen pounds 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 ftone, which at this moment (February 1773). I understand to be the common price, fuch a hide would at prefent coft only ten