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Book him a proportionable command of the labour of 1. those people, and of the commodities with which

that labour can fupply him. The value of the
most barren lands is not diminished by the
neighbourhood of the moft fertile. On the con-
trary, it is generally increased by it.
The great
number of people maintained by the fertile lands
afford a market to many parts of the produce of
the barren, which they could never have found
among those whom their own produce could

WHATEVER increases the fertility of land in
producing food, increases not only the value of
the lands upon which the improvement is be-
ftowed, but contributes likewise to increase that
of many other lands, by creating a new demand
for their produce. That abundance of food, of
which, in confequence of the improvement of
land, many people have the difpofal beyond
what they themselves can confume, is the great
caufe of the demand both for the precious
metals and the precious ftones, as well as for
every other conveniency and ornament of drefs,
lodging, houfhold furniture, and equipage.
Food not only conftitutes the principal part of
the riches of the world, but it is the abundance
of food which gives the principal part of their
value to many other forts of riches.
The poor
inhabitants of Cuba and St. Domingo, when they
were first discovered by the Spaniards, ufed to
wear little bits of gold as ornaments in their hair
and other parts of their drefs. They feemed to
value them as we would do any little pebbles of



fomewhat more than ordinary beauty, and to com- CHA P. fider them as juft worth the picking up, but not worth the refufing to any body who asked them. They gave them to their new guests at the first request, without feeming to think that they had made them any very valuable present. They were aftonished to obferve the rage of the Spa-dy

niards to obtain them; and had no notion that there could any-where be a country in which many people had the disposal of so great a superfluity of food, fo fcanty always among themselves, that for a very fmall quantity of those glittering baubles they would willingly give as much as might maintain a whole family for many years. Could they have been made to understand this, the paffion of the Spaniards would not have furprised them.


Of the Variations in the Proportion between the refpective Values of that Sort of Produce, which always affords Rent, and of that which fometimes does and fometimes does not afford Rent.


HE increasing abundance of food, in confequence of increafing improvement and cultivation, muft neceffarily increase the demand for every part of the produce of land which is not food, and which can be applied either to use or to ornament. In the whole progress of improvement, it might therefore be expected, there fhould be only one variation in the comparative - VOL. I. T


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BOOK values of those two different forts of produce. The value of that fort which fometimes does and fometimes does not afford rent, fhould conftantly rife in proportion to that which always affords fome rent. As art and industry advance, the materials of cloathing and lodging, the useful fofils and minerals of the earth, the precious metals and the precious ftones fhould gradually come to be more and more in demand, fhould gradually exchange for a greater and a greater quantity of food, or in other words, fhould gradually become dearer and dearer. This accordingly has been the cafe with most of these things upon moft occafions, and would have been the cafe with all of them upon all occafions, if particular accidents had not upon fome occafions increased the supply of fome of them in a ftill greater proportion than the demand.

only one in the

THE value of a free-ftone quarry, for example, will neceffarily increase with the increasing improvement and population of the country round about it; efpecially if it should be the neighbourhood. But the value of a filver mine, even though there should not be another within a thoufand miles of it, will not neceffarily increase with the improvement of the country in which it is fituated. The market for the produce of a free-ftone quarry can feldom extend more than a few miles round about it, and the demand muft generally be in proportion to the improvement and population of that fmall diftrict. But the market for the produce of a


filver mine may extend over the whole known C H A P. world. Unless the world in general, therefore, be advancing in improvement and population, the demand for filver might not be at all increased by the improvement even of a large country in the neighbourhood of the mine. Even though the world in general were improving, yet, if, in the courfe of its improvement, new mines fhould be difcovered, much more fertile than any which had been known before, though the demand for filver would neceffarily increase, yet the fupply might increase in fo much a greater proportion, that the real price of that metal might gradually fall; that is, any given quantity, a pound weight of it, for example, might gradually purchase or command a fmaller and a smaller quantity of labour, or exchange for a fmaller and a smaller quantity of corn, the principal part of the fubfiftence of the labourer.

THE great market for filver is the commercial and civilized part of the world.

IF by the general progrefs of improvement the demand of this market fhould increase, while at the fame time the fupply did not increase in the fame proportion, the value of filver would gradually rife in proportion to that of corn. Any given quantity of filver would exchange for a greater and a greater quantity of corn; or, in other words, the average money price of corn would gradually become cheaper and cheaper.

IF, on the contrary, the supply by fome accident should increafe for many years together in a greater

T 2



greater proportion than the demand, that metal would gradually become cheaper and cheaper; or, in other words, the average money price of corn would, in spite of all improvements, gradually become dearer and dearer.

BUT if, on the other hand, the supply of the metal fhould increafe nearly in the fame proportion as the demand, it would continue to purchafe or exchange for nearly the fame quantity of corn, and the average money price of corn would, in fpite of all improvements, continue very nearly the fame.

THESE three feem to exhauft all the poffible combinations of events which can happen in the progrefs of improvement; and during the course of the four centuries preceding the prefent, if we may judge by what has happened both in France and Great Britain, each of those three different combinations feem to have taken place in the European market, and nearly in the fame order too in which I have here fet them down.

Digreffion concerning the Variations in the Value of Silver during the Course of the Four last Centuries.


IN 1350, and for fome time before, the average price of the quarter of wheat in England feems not to have been estimated lower than four ounces of filver, Tower-weight, equal to about twenty fhillings of our prefent money. From

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