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Of the Produce of Land which fometimes does, and fometimes does not, afford Rent.
HUMAN food feems to be the only produce of land which always and neceffarily affords fome rent to the landlord. Other forts of produce fometimes may and fometimes may not, according to different circumstances.
AFTER food, cloathing and lodging are the two great wants of mankind.
LAND in its original rude state can afford the materials of cloathing and lodging to a much greater number of people than it can feed. In its improved state it can fometimes feed a greater number of people than it can fupply with thofe materials; at leaft in the way in which they require them, and are willing to pay for them. In the one state, therefore, there is always a fuper-abundance of thofe materials, which are frequently, upon that account, of little or no value. In the other there is often a fcarcity, which neceffarily augments their value. In the one ftate a great part of them is thrown away as ufelefs, and the price of what is ufed is confidered as equal only to the labour and expence of fitting it for ufe, and can, therefore, afford no rent to the landlord. In the other they are all made use of, and there is frequently a demand for more than can be had. Somebody is always willing to give more for every part of them than
what is fufficient to pay the expence of bringing CHAP. them to market. Their price, therefore, can always afford fome rent to the landlord.
THE skins of the larger animals were the original materials of cloathing. Among nations of hunters and fhepherds, therefore, whofe food confists chiefly in the flesh of those animals, every man, by providing himself with food, provides himself with the materials of more cloathing than he can wear. If there was no foreign commerce, the greater part of them would be thrown away as things of no value. This was probably the cafe among the hunting nations of North America, before their country was difcovered by the Europeans, with whom they now exchange their furplus peltry, for blankets, fire-arms, and brandy, which gives it fome value. In the prefent commercial ftate of the known world, the most barbarous nations, I believe, among whom land property is established, have fome foreign commerce of this kind, and find among their wealthier neighbours fuch a demand for all the materials of cloathing, which their land produces, and which can neither be wrought up nor confumed at home, as raifes their price above what it costs to fend them to those wealthier neighbours. It affords, therefore, fome rent to the landlord. When the greater part of the highland cattle were confumed on their own hills, the exportation of their hides made the most confiderable article of the commerce of that country, and what they were exchanged for afforded fome addition to the rent
BOOK of the highland eftates. The wool of England, which in old times could neither be confumed nor wrought up at home, found a market in the then wealthier and more induftrious country of Flanders, and its price afforded fomething to the rent of the land which produced it. In countries not better cultivated than England was then, or than the highlands of Scotland are now, and which had no foreign commerce, the materials of cloathing would evidently be fo fuperabundant, that a great part of them would be thrown away as useless, and no part could afford any rent to the landlord.
THE materials of lodging cannot always be tranfported to fo great a diftance as thofe of cloathing, and do not fo readily become an object of foreign commerce. When they are fuperabundant in the country which produces them, it frequently happens, even in the prefent commercial ftate of the world, that they are of no value to the landlord. A good ftone quarry in the neighbourhood of London would afford a confiderable rent. In many parts of Scotland and Wales it affords none. Barren timber for building is of great value in a populous and well-cultivated country, and the land which produces it affords a confiderable rent. But in many parts of North America the landlord would be much obliged to any body who would carry away the greater part of his large trees. In fome parts of the highlands of Scotland the bark is the only part of the wood which, for want of roads and water-carriage, can be sent to
market. The timber is left to rot upon the CHA P. ground. When the materials of lodging are fo fuper-abundant, the part made ufe of is worth only the labour and expence of fitting it for that ufe. It affords no rent to the landlord, who generally grants the use of it to whoever takes the trouble of asking it. The demand of wealthier nations, however, fometimes enables him to get a rent for it. The paving of the streets of Lon
don has enabled the owners of fome barren rocks on the coaft of Scotland to draw a rent from what never afforded any before. The woods of Norway and of the coafts of the Baltic, find a market in many parts of Great Britain which they could not find at home, and thereby afford fome rent to their proprietors.
COUNTRIES are populous, not in proportion to the number of people whom their produce can cloath and lodge, but in proportion to that of those whom it can feed. When food is provided, it is eafy to find the neceffary cloathing and lodging. But though these are at hand, it may often be difficult to find food. In fome parts even of the British dominions what is called A House, may be built by one day's labour of one man. The simplest species of cloathing, the skins of animals, require fomewhat more labour to drefs and prepare them for ufe. They do not, however, require a great deal. Among favage and barbarous nations, a hundredth or little more than a hundredth part of the labour of the whole year, will be fufficient to provide them with fuch cloathing and lodging as fatisfy the greater
BOOK greater part of the people. All the other ninety nine parts are frequently no more than enough to provide them with food.
BUT when by the improvement and cultivation of land the labour of one family can provide food for two, the labour of half the fociety becomes fufficient to provide food for the whole. The other half, therefore, or at least the greater part of them, can be employed in providing other things, or in fatisfying the other wants and fancies of mankind. Cloathing and lodging, houfhold furniture, and what is called Equipage, are the principal objects of the greater part of thofe wants and fancies. The rich man confumes no more food than his poor neighbour. In quality it may be very different, and to felect and prepare it may require more labour and art; but in quantity it is very nearly the fame. But compare the fpacious palace and great wardrobe of the one, with the hovel and the few rags of the other, and you will be fenfible that the difference between their cloathing, lodging, and houfhold furniture, is almost as great in quantity as it is in quality. The defire of food is limited in every man by the narrow capacity of the human ftomach; but the defire of the conveniences and ornaments of building, drefs, equipage, and houfhold furniture, feems to have no limit or certain boundary. Those, therefore, who have the command of more food than they themselves can confume, are always willing to exchange the furplus, or, what is the fame thing, the price of it, for gratifications of