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BOOK not commonly over-recompenced. Their delightful art is practifed by fo many rich people for amusement, that little advantage is to be made by those who practise it for profit; because the perfons who fhould naturally be their best customers, fupply themfelves with all their most precious productions.
The advantage which the landlord derives from fuch improvements feems at no time to have been greater than what was fufficient to compenfate the original expence of making them. In the ancient husbandry, after the vineyard, a well-watered kitchen garden feems to have been the part of the farm which was fupposed to yield the most valuable produce. But Democritus, who wrote upon husbandry about two thousand years ago, and who was regarded by the ancients as one of the fathers of the art, thought they did not act wifely who enclosed a kitchen garden. The profit, he said, would not compenfate the expence of a ftone wall; and bricks (he meant, I fuppofe, bricks baked in the fun) mouldered with the rain, and the winter ftorm, and required continual repairs. Columella, who reports this judgment of Democritus, does not controvert it, but propofes a very frugal method of enclofing with a hedge of brambles and briars, which, he fays, he had found by experience to be both a lafting and an impenetrable fence; but which, it seems, was not commonly known in the time of Democritus. Palladius adopts the opinion of Columella, which had before been recommended by Varro.
Varro. In the judgment of thofe ancient im- c HA P. provers, the produce of a kitchen garden had, it feems, been little more than fufficient to pay the extraordinary culture and the expence of watering; for in countries fo near the fun, it was thought proper, in those times as in the prefent, to have the command of a stream of water, which could be conducted to every bed in the garden. Through the greater part of Europe, a kitchen garden is not at prefent fuppofed to deferve a better enclosure than that recommended by Columella. In Great Britain, and fome other northern countries, the finer fruits cannot be brought to perfection but' by the affiftance of a wall. Their price, therefore, in fuch countries must be fufficient to pay the expence of building and maintaining what they cannot be had without. The fruit-wall frequently surrounds the kitchen garden, which thus enjoys the benefit of an enclosure which its own produce could feldom pay for.
That the vineyard, when properly planted and brought to perfection, was the most valuable part of the farm, feems to have been an undoubted maxim in the ancient agriculture, as it is in the modern through all the wine countries. But whether it was advantageous to plant a new vineyard, was a matter of difpute among the ancient Italian husbandmen, as we learn from Columella. He decides, like a true lover of all curious cultivation, in favour of the vineyard, and endeavours to fhow, by a comparison of the profit and expence, that it was a moft advan
BOOK tageous improvement. Such comparisons, however, between the profit and expence of new projects, are commonly very fallacious; and in nothing more fo than in agriculture. Had the gain actually made by fuch plantations been commonly as great as he imagined it might have been, there could have been no dispute about it. The fame point is frequently at this day a matter of controverfy in the wine countries. Their writers on agriculture, indeed, the lovers and promoters of high cultivation, feem generally difpofed to decide with Columella in favour of the vineyard. In France the anxiety of the proprietors of the old vineyards to prevent the planting of any new ones, feems to favour their opinion, and to indicate a consciousness in those who must have the experience, that this species of cultivation is at prefent in that country more profitable than any other. It seems at the fame time, however, to indicate another opinion, that this fuperior profit can laft no longer than the laws which at prefent restrain the free cultivation of the vine. In 1731, they obtained an order of council, prohibiting both the planting of new vineyards, and the renewal of thofe old ones, of which the cultivation had been interrupted for two years, without a particular permiffion from the king, to be granted only in confequence of an information from the intendant of the province, certifying that he had examined the land, and that it was incapable of any other culture. The pretence of this order was the scarcity of corn and pasture, and the fuper
fuper-abundance of wine. But had this fuper- c H A P. abundance been real, it would, without any order of council, have effectually prevented the plantation of new vineyards, by reducing the profits of this fpecies of cultivation below their natural proportion to thofe of corn and pasture. With regard to the supposed scarcity of corn occafioned by the multiplication of vineyards, corn is nowhere in France more carefully cultivated than in the wine provinces, where the land is fit for producing it; as in Burgundy, Guienne, and the Upper Languedoc. The numerous hands employed in the one fpecies of cultivation neceffarily encourage the other, by affording a ready market for its produce. To diminish the number of those who are capable of paying for it, is furely a moft unpromifing expedient for encouraging the cultivation of corn. It is like the policy which would promote agriculture by dif couraging manufactures.
The rent and profit of thofe productions, therefore, which require either a greater original expence of improvement in order to fit the land for them, or a greater annual expence of cultivation, though often much fuperior to thofe of corn and pasture, yet when they do no more than compenfate fuch extraordinary expence, are in reality regulated by the rent and profit of thofe common crops.
It fometimes happens, indeed, that the quantity of land which can be fitted for fome particular produce, is too fmall to fupply the effectual demand. The whole produce can be difpofed
BOOK of to thofe who are willing to give somewhat more than what is fufficient to pay the whole rent, wages and profit neceffary for raifing and bringing it to market, according to their natural rates, or according to the rates at which they are paid in the greater part of other cultivated land. The furplus part of the price which remains after defraying the whole expence of improvement and cultivation may commonly, in this case, and in this cafe only, bear no regular proportion to the like furplus in corn or pasture, but may exceed it in almost any degree; and the greater part of this excefs naturally goes to the rent of the landlord.
The ufual and natural proportion, for example, between the rent and profit of wine and those of corn and pafture, must be understood to take place only with regard to thofe vineyards which produce nothing but good common wine, fuch as can be raifed almoft any-where, upon any light, gravelly, or fandy foil, and which has nothing to recommend it but its ftrength and wholesomeness. It is with fuch vineyards only that the common land of the country can be brought into competition; for with those of a peculiar quality it is evident that it cannot.
The vine is more affected by the difference of foils than any other fruit tree. From fome it derives a flavour which no culture or management can equal, it is supposed, upon any other. This flavour, real or imaginary, is fometimes peculiar to the produce of a few vineyards; fometimes it extends through the greater part of