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BOOK fhillings. Though its nominal price, therefore, is
higher in the present than it was in those ancient times, its real price, the real quantity of fubfiftence which it will purchase or command, is ra ther fomewhat lower. The price of cow hides, as ftated in the above account, is nearly in the common proportion to that of ox hides. That of fheep skins is a good deal above it. They had probably been fold with the wool. That of calves skins, on the contrary, is' greatly below it. In countries where the price of cattle is very low, the calves, which are not intended to be reared in order to keep up the ftock, are generally killed very young; as was the cafe in Scotland twenty or thirty years ago. It faves the milk, which their price would not pay for. Their skins, therefore, are commonly good for little.
The price of raw hides is a good deal lower at prefent than it was a few years ago; owing probably to the taking off the duty upon seal skins, and to the allowing, for a limited time, the importation of raw hides from Ireland and from the plantations, duty free, which was done in 1769. Take the whole of the prefent century at an average, their real price has probably been fomewhat higher than it was in those ancient times. The nature of the commodity renders it not quite fo proper for being transported to diftant markets as wool. It fuffers more by keeping. A falted hide is reckoned inferior to a fresh one, and fells for a lower price. This circumstance muft neceffarily have some tendency to fink the price of raw hides produced
in a country which does not manufacture them, CHAP. but is obliged to export them; and comparatively to raise that of those produced in a country which does manufacture them. It muft have fome tendency to fink their price in a barbarous, and to raise it in an improved and manufacturing country. It must have had fome tendency, therefore, to fink it in ancient, and to raise it in modern times. Our tanners, befides, have not been quite fo fuccefsful as our clothiers, in convincing the wisdom of the nation, that the fafety of the commonwealth depends upon the profperity of their particular manufacture. They have accordingly been much lefs favoured. The exportation of raw hides has, indeed, been prohibited, and declared a nuifance: but their importation from foreign countries has been fubjected to a duty; and though this duty has been taken off from thofe of Ireland and the plantations (for the limited time of five years only), yet Ireland has not been confined to the market of Great Britain for the fale of its furplus hides, or of thofe which are not manufactured at home. The hides of common cattle have but within thefe few years been put among the enumerated commodities which the plantations can fend no where but to the mother country; neither has the commerce of Ireland been in this cafe oppreffed hitherto, in order to fupport the manufactures of Great Britain.
Whatever regulations tend to fink the price either of wool or raw hides below what it naturally would be, muft, in an improved and cultivated
BOOK cultivated country, have fome tendency to raise the price of butcher's meat. The price both of the great and fmall cattle, which are fed on improved and cultivated land, must be fufficient to pay the rent which the landlord, and the profit which the farmer, has reafon to expect from improved and cultivated land. If it is not, they will foon ceafe to feed them. Whatever part of this price, therefore, is not paid by the wool and the hide, must be paid by the carcafe. The lefs there is paid for the one, the more must be paid for the other. In what manner this price is to be divided upon the different parts of the beaft, is indifferent to the landlords and farmers, provided it is all paid to them. In an improved and cultivated country, therefore, their interest as landlords and farmers cannot be much affected by fuch regulations, though their interest as confumers may, by the rife in the price of provi fions. It would be quite otherwife, however, in an unimproved and uncultivated country, where the greater part of the lands could be applied to no other purpose but the feeding of cattle, and where the wool and the hide made the principal part of the value of those cattle. Their intereft as landlords and farmers would in this cafe be very deeply affected by fuch regulations, and their intereft as confumers very little. The fall in the price of wool and the hide, would not in this cafe raise the price of the carcafe; because the greater part of the lands of the country being applicable to no other purpose but the feeding of cattle, the fame number would
ftill continue to be fed. The fame quantity of c HA P. butcher's-meat would ftill come to market. The XI. demand for it would be no greater than before. Its price, therefore, would be the fame as before. The whole price of cattle would fall, and along with it both the rent and the profit of all thofe lands of which cattle was the principal produce, that is, of the greater part of the lands of the country. The perpetual prohibition of the exportation of wool, which is commonly, but very falfely, ascribed to Edward III., would, in the then circumftances of the country, have been the most deftructive regulation which could well have been thought of. It would not only have reduced the actual value of the greater part of the lands of the kingdom, but by reducing the price of the most important fpecies of fmall cattle, it would have retarded very much its fubfequent improvement.
The wool of Scotland fell very confiderably in its price in confequence of the union with England, by which it was excluded from the great market of Europe, and confined to the narrow one of Great Britain. The value of the greater part of the lands in the fouthern counties of Scotland, which are chiefly a fheep country, would have been very deeply affected by this event, had not the rife in the price of butcher'smeat fully compenfated the fall in the price of wool.
As the efficacy of human industry, in increafing the quantity either of wool or of raw hides, is limited, fo far as it depends upon the produce
BOOK produce of the country where it is exerted; so it is uncertain fo far as it depends upon the produce of other countries. It fo far depends, not fo much upon the quantity which they produce, as upon that which they do not manufacture; and upon the restraints which they may or may not think proper to impofe upon the exportation of this fort of rude produce. Thefe circumftances, as they are altogether independent of domeftic industry, fo they neceffarily render the efficacy of its efforts more or lefs uncertain. In multiplying this fort of rude produce, therefore, the efficacy of human industry is not only limited, but uncertain.
In multiplying another very important fort of rude produce, the quantity of fish that is brought to market, it is likewife both limited and uncertain. It is limited by the local fituation of the country, by the proximity or distance of its different provinces from the fea, by the number of its lakes and rivers, and by what may be called the fertility or barrennefs of thofe feas, lakes and rivers, as to this fort of rude produce. As population increases, as the annual produce of the land and labour of the country grows greater and greater, there come to be more buyers of fish, and thofe buyers too have a greater quantity and variety of other goods, or, what is the fame thing, the price of a greater quantity and variety of other goods, to buy with. But it will generally be impoffible to fupply the great and extended market without employing a quantity of labour greater than in proportion to