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BOOK ufage. Where there is an exclufive corporation, I. it may perhaps be proper to regulate the price of the first neceffary of life. But where there is none, the competition will regulate it much better than any affize. The method of fixing the affize of bread established by the 31ft of George II. could not be put in practice in Scotland, on account of a defect in the law; its execution depending upon the office of clerk of the market, which does not exist there. This defect was not remedied till the 3d of George III. The want of an affize occafioned no fenfible inconveniency, and the establishment of one in the few places where it has yet taken place, has produced no fenfible advantage. In the greater part of the towns of Scotland, however, there is an incorporation of bakers who claim exclufive privileges, though they are not very strictly guarded.
THE proportion between the different rates both of wages and profit in the different employments of labour and stock, seems not to be much affected, as has already been obferved, by the riches or poverty, the advancing, ftationary, or declining ftate of the fociety. Such revolutions in the public welfare, though they affect the general rates both of wages and profit, muft in the end affect them equally in all different employments. The proportion between them, therefore, must remain the fame, and cannot well be altered, at least for any confiderable time, by any fuch revolutions.
CHA P. XI.
Of the Rent of Land.
ENT, confidered as the price paid for the CHA P. use of land, is naturally the highest which the tenant can afford to pay in the actual circumstances of the land. In adjusting the terms of the leafe, the landlord endeavours to leave him no greater fhare of the produce than what is fufficient to keep up the ftock from which he furnishes the feed, pays the labour, and purchases and maintains the cattle and other inftruments of husbandry, together with the ordinary profits of farming stock in the neighbourhood. This is evidently the smallest share with which the tenant. can content himself without being a lofer, and the landlord feldom means to leave him any more. Whatever part of the produce, or, what is the fame thing, whatever part of its price, is over and above this fhare, he naturally endeavours to referve to himself as the rent of his land, which is evidently the highest the tenant can afford to pay in the actual circumftances of the land. Sometimes, indeed, the liberality, more frequently the ignorance, of the landlord, makes him accept of fomewhat less than this portion; and fometimes too, though more rarely, the ignorance of the tenant makes him undertake to pay somewhat more, or to content himself with fomewhat lefs, than the ordinary profits of farming stock in the neighbourhood. This portion,
BOOK however, may still be confidered as the natural rent
of land, or the rent for which it is naturally meant that land fhould for the most part be let.
THE rent of land, it may be thought, is frequently no more than a reasonable profit or interest for the stock laid out by the landlord upoñ its improvement. This, no doubt, may be partly the cafe upon fome occafions; for it can scarce ever be more than partly the cafe. The landlord demands a rent even for unimproved land, and the fuppofed intereft or profit upon the expence of improvement is generally an addition to this original rent. Those improvements, besides, are not always made by the stock of the landlord, but fometimes by that of the tenant. When the lease comes to be renewed, however, the landlord commonly demands the fame augmentation of rent, as if they had been all made by his own.
HE fometimes demands rent for what is altogether incapable of human improvement. Kelp is a fpecies of fea-weed, which, when burnt, yields an alkaline falt, ufeful for making glafs, foap, and for several other purposes. It grows in several parts of Great Britain, particularly in Scotland, upon fuch rocks only as lie within the high water mark, which are twice every day covered with the fea, and of which the produce, therefore, was never augmented by human induftry. The landlord, however, whose estate is bounded by a kelp shore of this kind, demands a rent for it as much as for his corn fields.
THE fea in the neighbourhood of the islands of Shetland is more than commonly abundant in
fish, which make a great part of the fubfiftence CHA P. of their inhabitants. But in order to profit by the produce of the water, they must have a habitation upon the neighbouring land. The rent of the landlord is in proportion, not to what the farmer can make by the land, but to what he can make both by the land and by the water. It is partly paid in fea-fifh; and one of the very few instances in which rent makes a part of the price of that commodity, is to be found in that country.
THE rent of land, therefore, confidered as the price paid for the ufe of the land, is naturally a monopoly price. It is not at all proportioned to what the landlord may have laid out upon the improvement of the land, or to what he can afford to take; but to what the farmer can afford to give.
SUCH parts only of the produce of land can commonly be brought to market of which the ordinary price is fufficient to replace the ftock which must be employed in bringing them thither, together with its ordinary profits. If the ordinary price is more than this, the furplus part of it will naturally go to the rent of the land. If it is not more, though the commodity may be brought to market, it can afford no rent to the landlord. Whether the price is, or is not more, depends upon the demand.
THERE are fome parts of the produce of land for which the demand must always be such as to afford a greater price than what is fufficient to bring them to market; and there are others for
BOOK which it either may or may not be fuch as to afI. ford this greater price. The former must always
afford a rent to the landlord. The latter fometimes may, and fometimes may not, according to different circumstances.
RENT, it is to be observed, therefore, enters into the compofition of the price of commodities in a different way from wages and profit. High or low wages and profit, are the causes of high or low price; high or low rent is the effect of it. It is becaufe high or low wages and profit must be paid, in order to bring a particular commodity to market, that its price is high or low. But it is because its price is high or low; a great deal more, or very little more, or no more, than what is fufficient to pay those wages and profit, that it affords a high rent, or a low rent, or no
rent at all.
THE particular confideration, first, of those parts of the produce of land which always afford fome rent; fecondly, of those which fometimes may and sometimes may not afford rent; and, thirdly, of the variations which, in the different periods of improvement, naturally take place, in the relative value of thofe two different forts, of rude produce, when compared both with one another and with manufactured commodities, will divide this chapter into three parts.