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reduction, is, probably, at least ten per cent. CHA P. lower than it would have been, had the Court of Spain continued to exact the old tax.

THAT, notwithstanding this reduction, the value of filver has, during the courfe of the prefent century, begun to rife fomewhat in the European market, the facts and arguments which have been alleged above, dispose me to believe, or more properly to fufpect and conjecture; for the best opinion which I can form upon this fubject scarce, perhaps, deferves the name of belief. The rife, indeed, fuppofing there has been any, has hitherto been so very small, that after all that has been faid, it may, perhaps, appear to many people uncertain, not only whether this event has actually taken place; but whether the contrary may not have taken place, or whether the value of filver may not ftill continue to fall in the European market.

IT must be observed, however, that whatever may be the fuppofed annual importation of gold and filver, there must be a certain period, at which the annual confumption of those metals will be equal to that annual importation. Their confumption muft increafe as their mafs increases, or rather in a much greater proportion. As their mafs increases, their value diminishes. They are more ufed, and lefs cared for, and their confumption confequently increafes in a greater proportion than their mass. After a certain period, therefore, the annual consumption of thofe metals must, in this manner, become equal to their annual importation, provided that importation

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BOOK is not continually increasing; which, in the prefent times, is not supposed to be the cafe.


IF, when the annual confumption has become equal to the annual importation, the annual importation fhould gradually diminish, the annual confumption may, for fome time, exceed the annual importation. The mafs of those metals may gradually and infenfibly diminish, and their value gradually and infenfibly rife, till the annual importation becoming again ftationary, the annual confumption will gradually and infenfibly accommodate itself to what that annual importation can maintain.

Grounds of the Sufpicion that the Value of Silver
Still continues to decrease.

HE increase of the wealth of Europe, and


the popular notion that, as the quantity of the precious metals naturally increases with the increase of wealth, fo their value diminishes as their quantity increases, may, perhaps, difpofe many people to believe that their value ftill continues to fall in the European market; and the ftill gradually increafing price of many parts of the rude produce of land may confirm them still further in this opinion.

THAT that increase in the quantity of the precious metals, which arifes in any country from the increase of wealth, has no tendency to diminish their value, I have endeavoured to fhow Gold and filver naturally refort to a


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rich country, for the fame reason that all forts of CHA P. luxuries and curiofities refort to it; not because they are cheaper there than in poorer countries, but because they are dearer, or because a better price is given for them. It is the fuperiority of price which attracts them, and as foon as that fuperiority ceafes, they neceffarily ceafe to go


If you except corn and fuch other vegetables as are raised altogether by human industry, that all other forts of rude produce, cattle, poultry, game of all kinds, the useful foffils and minerals. of the earth, &c. naturally grow dearer as the fociety advances in wealth and improvement, I have endeavoured to fhow already. Though fuch commodities, therefore, come to exchange for a greater quantity of filver than before, it will not from thence follow that filver has become really cheaper, or will purchase lefs labour than before, but that fuch commodities have become really dearer, or will purchafe more labour than before. It is not their nominal price only, but their real price which rifes in the progrefs of improvement. The rife of their nominal price. is the effect, not of any degradation of the value of filver, but of the rife in their real price.

Different Effects of the Progress of Improvement upon three different Sorts of rude Produce.

THESE different forts of rude produce may

be divided into three claffes. The first comprehends thofe which it is fcarce in the

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BOOK power of human industry to multiply at all. The I. fecond, those which it can multiply in propor

tion to the demand. The third, those in which the efficacy of industry is either limited or uncertain. In the progrefs of wealth and improvement, the real price of the first may rife to any degree of extravagance, and feems not to be limited by any certain boundary. That of the fecond, though it may rife greatly, has, however, a certain boundary beyond which it cannot well pafs for any confiderable time together. That of the third, though its natural tendency is to rise in the progress of improvement, yet in the fame degree of improvement it may fometimes happen even to fall, fometimes to continue the fame, and fometimes to rife more or lefs, according as different accidents render the efforts of human industry, in multiplying this fort of rude produce, more or less fuccefsful.

First Sort.

THE first fort of rude produce of which the price rifes in the progrefs of improvement, is that which it is fcarce in the power of human induftry to multiply at all. It confifts in those things which nature produces only in certain quantities, and which being of a very perishable nature, it is impoffible to accumulate together the produce of many different feafons. Such are the greater part of rare and fingular birds and fishes, many different forts of game, almost all wild-fowl, all birds of paffage in particular, as well as many other things. When wealth and



the luxury which accompanies it increase, the CHA P. demand for thefe is likely to increase with them, and no effort of human induftry may be able to increase the fupply much beyond what it was before this increase of the demand. The quantity of fuch commodities, therefore, remaining the fame, or nearly the fame, while the competition to purchase them is continually increasing, their price may rise to any degree of extravagance, and feems not to be limited by any certain boundary. If woodcocks fhould become fo fashionable as to fell for twenty guineas a-piece, no effort of human industry could increase the number of those brought to market, much beyond what it is at prefent. The high price paid by the Romans, in the time of their greatest grandeur, for rare birds and fishes, may in this manner easily be accounted for. These prices were not the effects of the low value of filver in those times, but of the high value of fuch rarities and curiofities as human induftry could not multiply at pleasure. The real value of filver was higher at Rome, for fome time before and after the fall of the republic, than it is through the greater part of Europe at present. Three feftertii, equal to about fixpence fterling, was the price which the republic paid for the modius or peck of the tithe wheat of Sicily. This price, however, was probably below the average market price, the obligation to deliver their wheat at this rate being confidered as a tax upon the Sicilian farmers. When the Romans, therefore, had occafion to order more corn than the tithe of

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