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Of the Produce of Land which always affords Rent.
AS men, like all other animals, naturally mul
tiply in proportion to the means of their fubfiftence, food is always, more or lefs, in demand. It can always purchase or command a greater or smaller quantity of labour, and fomebody can always be found who is willing to do fomething in order to obtain it. The quantity of labour, indeed, which it can purchase, is not always equal to what it could maintain, if managed in the most ceconomical manner, on account of the high wages which are fometimes given to labour. But it can always purchase fuch a quantity of labour as it can maintain, according to the rate at which that fort of labour is commonly maintained in the neighbourhood.
BUT land, in almost any situation, produces a greater quantity of food than what is fufficient to maintain all the labour neceffary for bringing it to market, in the most liberal way in which that labour is ever maintained. The furplus too is always more than fufficient to replace the stock which employed that labour, together with its profits. Something, therefore, always remains
for a rent to the landlord.
THE moft defart moors in Norway and Scotland produce fome fort of pasture for cattle, of which the milk and the increase are always more
BOOK than fufficient, not only to maintain all the la1. bour neceffary for tending them, and to pay the
ordinary profit to the farmer or owner of the herd or flock; but to afford fome fmall rent to the landlord. The rent increases in proportion to the goodness of the pafture. The fame extent of ground not only maintains a greater number of cattle, but as they are brought within a fmaller compafs, lefs labour becomes requifite to tend them, and to collect their produce. The landlord gains both ways; by the increase of the produce, and by the diminution of the labour which must be maintained out of it.
/THE rent of land not only varies with its fertility, whatever be its produce, but with its fituation, whatever be its fertility. Land in the neighbourhood of a town gives a greater rent than land equally fertile in a diftant part of the country. Though it may coft no more labour to cultivate the one than the other, it must always coft more to bring the produce of the diftant land to market. A greater quantity of labour, therefore, must be maintained out of it; and the furplus, from which are drawn both the profit of the farmer and the rent of the landlord, must be diminished. But in remote parts of the country the rate of profits, as has already been fhown, is generally higher than in the neighbourhood of a large town. A fmaller proportion of this diminished furplus, therefore, must belong to the landlord.
GOOD roads, canals, and navigable rivers, by diminishing the expence of carriage, put the re
mote parts of the country more nearly upon a CHA P. level with thofe in the neighbourhood of the town. They are upon that account the greateft of all improvements. They encourage the cultivation of the remote, which must always be the most extensive circle of the country. They are advantageous to the town, by breaking down the monopoly of the country in its neighbourhood. They are advantageous even to that part of the country. Though they introduce fome rival commodities into the old market, they open many new markets to its produce. Monopoly, befides, is a great enemy to good management, which can never be univerfally established but in confequence of that free and univerfal competition which forces every body to have recourse to it for the fake of felf-defence. It is not more than fifty years ago, that fome of the counties in the neighbourhood of London petitioned the parliament against the extenfion of the turnpike roads into the remoter counties. Thofe remoter counties, they pretended, from the cheapness of labour, would be able to fell their grafs and corn cheaper in the London market than themfelves, and would thereby reduce their rents, and ruin their cultivation. Their rents, however, have rifen, and their cultivation has been improved fince that time.
A CORN field of moderate fertility produces a much greater quantity of food for man, than the best pasture of equal extent. Though its cultivation requires much more labour, yet the furplus which remains after replacing the feed and maintaining
BOOK maintaining all that labour, is likewise much I. greater. If a pound of butcher's-meat, there
fore, was never fuppofed to be worth more than a pound of bread, this greater furplus would every-where be of greater value, and conftitute a greater fund both for the profit of the farmer and the rent of the landlord. It seems to have done fo univerfally in the rude beginnings of agriculture.
BUT the relative values of those two different fpecies of food, bread, and butcher's-meat, are very different in the different periods of agriculture. In its rude beginnings, the unimproved wilds, which then occupy the far greater part of the country, are all abandoned to cattle. There is more butcher's-meat than bread, and bread, therefore, is the food for which there is the greatest competition, and which confequently brings the greatest price. At Buenos Ayres, we are told by Ulloa, four reals, one-and-twenty pence halfpenny fterling, was, forty or fifty years ago, the ordinary price of an ox, chofen from a herd of two or three hundred. He fays nothing of the price of bread, probably because he found nothing remarkable about it. An ox there, he fays, cofts little more than the labour of catching him. But corn can no-where be raised without a great deal of labour, and in a country which lies upon the river Plate, at that time the direct road from Europe to the filver mines of Potofi, the money price of labour could not be very cheap. It is otherwife when cultivation is extended over the greater part of the country.
There is then more bread than butcher's-meat. CHA P. The competition changes its direction, and the price of butcher's-meat becomes greater than the price of bread.
By the extenfion befides of cultivation, the unimproved wilds become infufficient to fupply the demand for butcher's-meat. A great part of the cultivated lands must be employed in rearing and fattening cattle, of which the price, therefore, must be fufficient to pay, not only the labour neceffary for tending them, but the rent which the landlord and the profit which the farmer could have drawn from fuch land employed in tillage. The cattle bred upon the most uncultivated moors, when brought to the fame market, are, in proportion to their weight or goodness, fold at the fame price as thofe which are reared upon the moft improved land. The proprietors of those moors profit by it, and raife the rent of their land in proportion to the price of their cattle. It is not more than a century ago that in many parts of the highlands of Scotland, butcher's meat was as cheap or cheaper than even bread made of oat-meal. The union opened the market of England to the highland cattle. Their ordinary price is at prefent about three times greater than at the beginning of the century, and the rents of many highland estates have been tripled and quadrupled in the fame time. In almoft every part of Great Britain a pound of the best butcher's-meat is, in the prefent times, generally worth more than two pounds of the best white bread; and in plentiful