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The difference between the apparent profit of C HA P. the retail and that of the wholesale trade, is much lefs in the capital than in finall towns and country villages. Where ten thousand pounds can be employed in the grocery trade, the wages of the grocer's labour make but a very trifling addition to the real profits of fo great a stock. The apparent profits of the wealthy retailer, therefore, are there more nearly upon a level with .thofe of the wholefale merchant. It is upon this account that goods fold by retail are generally as cheap and frequently much cheaper in the capital than in fmall towns and country villages. Grocery goods, for example, are generally much cheaper; bread and butcher's meat frequently as cheap. It cofts no more to bring grocery goods to the great town than to the country village; but it cofts a great deal more to bring corn and cattle, as the greater part of them must be brought from a much greater diftance. The prime coft of grocery goods, therefore, being the fame in both places, they are cheapest where the leaft profit is charged upon them. The prime coft of bread and butcher's meat is greater in the great town than in the country village; and though the profit is lefs, therefore they are not always cheaper there, but often equally cheap. In fuch articles as bread and butcher's meat, the fame cause, which diminishes apparent profit, increases prime coft. The extent of the market, by giving employment to greater flocks, diminishes apparent profit; but by requiring fupplies from a greater distance, it
BOOK increases prime coft. This diminution of the one and increase of the other feem, in moft cafes, nearly to counter-balance one another; which is probably the reason that, though the prices of corn and cattle are commonly very different in different parts of the kingdom, those of bread and butcher's meat are generally very nearly the fame through the greater part of it.
Though the profits of ftock both in the wholefale and retail trade are generally lefs in the capital than in fmall towns and country villages, yet great fortunes are frequently acquired from fmall beginnings in the former, and fcarce ever in the latter. In fmall towns and country villages, on account of the narrownefs of the market, trade cannot always be extended as ftock extends. In fuch places, therefore, though the rate of a particular perfon's profits may be very high, the fum or amount of them can never be very great, nor confequently that of his annual accumulation. In great towns, on the contrary, trade can be extended as stock increases, and the credit of a frugal and thriving man increases much fafter than his ftock. His trade is extended in proportion to the amount of both, and the fum or amount of his profits is in proportion to the extent of his trade, and his annual accumulation in proportion to the amount of his profits. It feldom happens, however, that great fortunes are made even in great towns by any one regular, eftablished, and well-known branch of business, but in confequence of a long life of industry, frugality, and attention. Sudden fortunes,
indeed, are fometimes made in fuch places by CHAP. what is called the trade of fpeculation. The fpeculative merchant exercifes no one regular, established, or well-known branch of business. He is a corn merchant this year, and a wine merchant the next, and a fugar, tobacco, or tea merchant the year after. He enters into every trade when he forefees that it is likely to be more than commonly profitable, and he quits it when he forefees that its profits are likely to return to the level of other trades. His profits and loffes, therefore, can bear no regular proportion to those of any one established and well-known branch of bufinefs. A bold adventurer may fometimes acquire a confiderable fortune by two or three fuccessful speculations; but is just as likely to lofe one by two or three unfuccefsful ones. This trade can be carried on no where but in great towns. It is only in places of the most extensive commerce and correfpondence that the intelligence requifite for it can be had.
The five circumftances above mentioned, though they occafion confiderable inequalities in the wages of labour and profits of ftock, occafion none in the whole of the advantages and disadvantages, real or imaginary, of the different employments of either. The nature of thofe circumftances is fuch, that they make up for a small pecuniary gain in fome, and counter-balance a great one in others.
In order, however, that this equality may take place in the whole of their advantages or disadvantages, three things are requifite even
BOOK where there is the most perfect freedom. First, I. the employments must be well known and
long established in the neighbourhood; fecondly, they must be in their ordinary, or what may be called their natural ftate; and, thirdly, they must be the fole or principal employments of thofe who occupy them.
Firft, this equality can take place only in thofe employments which are well known, and have been long established in the neighbourhood.
Where all other circumftances are equal, wages are generally higher in new than in old trades. When a projector attempts to establish a new manufacture, he must at firft entice his workmen from other employments by higher wages than they can either earn in their own trades, or than the nature of his work would otherwife require, and a confiderable time muft pafs away before he can venture to reduce them to the common level. Manufactures for which the demand arifes altogether from fashion and fancy, are continually changing, and feldom last long enough to be confidered as old established manufactures. Thofe, on the contrary, for which the demand arifes chiefly from ufe or neceffity, are lefs liable to change, and the fame form or fabric may continue in demand for whole centuries together. The wages of labour, therefore, are likely to be higher in manufactures of the former, than in those of the latter kind. Birmingham deals chiefly in manufactures of the former kind; Sheffield in thofe of the latter;
and the wages of labour in those two different CHAP. places, are faid to be suitable to this difference in the nature of their manufactures.
The establishment of any new manufacture, of any new branch of commerce, or of any new practice in agriculture, is always a fpeculation, from which the projector promises himself extraordinary profits. These profits fometimes are very great, and fometimes, more frequently, perhaps, they are quite otherwife; but in general they bear no regular proportion to thofe of other old trades in the neighbourhood. If the project fucceeds, they are commonly at first very high. When the trade or practice becomes thoroughly established and well known, the competition reduces them to the level of other trades.
Secondly, This equality in the whole of the advantages and difadvantages of the different employments of labour and stock, can take place only in the ordinary, or what may be called the natural state of thofe employments.
The demand for almost every different fpecies of labour is fometimes greater and fometimes lefs than ufual. In the one cafe the advantages of the employment rife above, in the other they fall below the common level. The demand for country labour is greater at hay-time and harvest, than during the greater part of the year; and wages rife with the demand. In time of war, when forty or fifty thoufand failors are forced from the merchant service into that of the king, the demand for failors to merchant ships neceffarily rises with their scarcity, and their wages