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through the greater part of the united kingdom. C HA P. Thefe and moft other things which are fold by retail, the way in which the labouring poor buy all things, are generally fully as cheap or cheaper in great towns than in the remoter parts of the country, for reafons which I fhall have occafion to explain hereafter.. But the wages of labour in a great town and its neighbourhood are frequently a fourth or a fifth part, twenty or fiveand-twenty per cent. higher than at a few miles distance. Eighteen pence a day may be reckoned the common price of labour in London and its neighbourhood. At a few miles diftance it falls to fourteen and fifteen pence. Ten-pence may be reckoned its price in Edinburgh and its neighbourhood. At a few miles diftance it falls to eight pence, the ufual price of common labour through the greater part of the low country of Scotland, where it varies a good deal less than in England. Such a difference of prices, which it seems is not always fufficient to transport a man from one parish to another, would neceffarily occafion fo great a transportation of the most bulky commodities, not only from one parish to another, but from one end of the kingdom, almoft from one end of the world to the other, as would foon reduce them more nearly to a level. After all that has been faid of the levity and inconftancy of human nature, it appears evidently from experience that a man is of all forts of luggage the most difficult to be tranfported. If the labouring poor, therefore, can maintain their families in those parts of the kingdom where the




BOOK price of labour is lowest, they must be in affluence where it is highest.


Fourthly, the variations in the price of labour not only do not correfpond either in place or time with those in the price of provifions, but they are frequently quite oppofite.

Grain, the food of the common people, is dearer in Scotland than in England, whence Scotland receives almost every year very large fupplies. But English corn must be fold dearer in Scotland, the country to which it is brought, than in England, the country from which it comes; and in proportion to its quality it can not be fold dearer in Scotland than the Scotch corn that comes to the fame market in competition with it. The quality of grain, depends chiefly upon the quantity of flour or meal which it yields at the mill, and in this respect English grain is fo much fuperior to the Scotch, that, though often dearer in appearance, or in proportion to the measure of its bulk, it is generally cheaper in reality, or in proportion to its quality, or even to the measure of its weight. The price of labour, on the contrary, is dearer in England than in Scotland. If the labouring poor, therefore, can maintain their families in the one part of the united kingdom, they must be in affluence in the other. Oatmeal indeed fupplies the common people in Scotland with the greatest and the best part of their food, which is in general much inferior to that of their neighbours of the fame rank in England. This difference, however, in the mode of their fubfiftence is not the cause,



but the effect, of the difference in their wages; CHAP. though, by a ftrange mifapprehenfion, I have frequently heard it represented as the caufe. It is not because one man keeps a coach while his neighbour walks a-foot, that the one is rich and the other poor: but because the one is rich he keeps a coach, and because the other is poor he walks a-foot.

During the courfe of the last century, taking one year with another, grain was dearer in both parts of the united kingdom than during that of the prefent. This is a matter of fact which cannot now admit of any reasonable doubt; and the proof of it is, if poffible, ftill more decifive with regard to Scotland than with regard to EnglandIt is in Scotland supported by the evidence of the public fiars, annual valuations made upon oath, according to the actual state of the markets, of all the different forts of grain in every different county of Scotland. If fuch direct proof could require any collateral evidence to confirm it, I would obferve that this has likewife been the cafe in France, and probably in most other parts of Europe. With regard to France there is the clearest proof. But though it is certain that in both parts of the united kingdom grain was fomewhat dearer in the last century than in the prefent, it is equally certain that labour was much cheaper. If the labouring poor, therefore, could bring up their families then, they must be much more at their eafe now. In the laft century, the most ufual day-wages of common labour through the greater part of Scotland

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BOOK were fixpence in fummer and five-pence in winter. Three fhillings a week, the fame price very nearly, ftill continues to be paid in fome parts of the Highlands and Western Islands. Through the greater part of the low country the most ufual wages of common labour are now eightpence a day; ten-pence, fometimes a fhilling about Edinburgh, in the counties which border upon England, probably on account of that neighbourhood, and in a few other places where there has lately been a confiderable rife in the demand for labour, about Glasgow, Carron, Ayr-fhire, &c. In England the improvements of agriculture, manufactures and commerce began much earlier than in Scotland. The demand for labour, and confequently its price, muft neceffarily have increased with thofe improvements. In the last century, accordingly, as well as in the prefent, the wages of labour were higher in England than in Scotland. They have rifen too confiderably fince that time, though, on account of the greater variety of wages paid there in different places, it is more difficult to afcertain how much. In 1614, the pay of a foot foldier was the fame as in the prefent times, eight pence a day. When it was first established it would naturally be regulated by the ufual wages of common labourers, the rank of people from which foot foldiers are commonly drawn. Lord Chief Juftice Hales, who wrote in the time of Charles II, computes the neceffary expence of a labourer's family, confifting of fix perfons, the father and mother, two children able


to do fomething, and two not able, at ten fhil- CHA P. lings a week, or twenty-fix pounds a year. If VIII. they cannot earn this by their labour, they muft make it up, he supposes, either by begging or ftealing. He appears to have enquired very carefully into this fubject *. In 1688, Mr. Gregory King, whofe skill in political arithmetic is fo much extolled by Doctor Davenant, computed the ordinary income of labourers and out-fervants to be fifteen pounds a year to a family, which he fuppofed to confift, one with another, of three and a half perfons. His calculation, therefore, though different in appearance, corresponds very nearly at bottom with that of Judge Hales. Both suppose the weekly expence of fuch families to be about twenty pence a head. Both the pecuniary income and expence of fuch families have increased confiderably fince that time through the greater part of the kingdom; in fome places more, and in fome lefs; though perhaps scarce any where fo much as fome exaggerated accounts of the prefent wages of labour have lately represented them to the public. The price of labour, it must be obferved, cannot be afcer tained very accurately any where, different prices being often paid at the fame place and for the fame fort of labour, not only according to the different abilities of the workmen, but according to the easiness or hardness of the mafters. Where wages are not regulated by law, all that we can

*See his fcheme for the maintenance of the Poor, in Burn's Hiftory of the Poor-laws.

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