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a fmall diftrict, and fometimes through a con- CHA P. fiderable part of a large province. The whole quantity of fuch wines that is brought to market falls fhort of the effectual demand, or the demand of thofe who would be willing to pay the whole rent, profit and wages neceffary for preparing and bringing them thither, according to the ordinary rate, or according to the rate at which they are paid in common vineyards. The whole quantity, therefore, can be disposed of to those who are willing to pay more, which neceffarily raises the price above that of common' wine. The difference is greater or lefs, according as the fashionablenefs and fcarcity of the wine render the competition of the buyers more or less eager. Whatever it be, the greater part of it goes to the rent of the landlord. For though fuch vineyards are in general more carefully cultivated than moft others, the high price of the wine feems to be, not fo much the effect, as the cause of this careful cultivation. In fo valuable a produce the lofs occafioned by negligence is fo great as to force even the most careless to attention. A fmall part of this high price, therefore, is fufficient to pay the wages of the extraor dinary labour bestowed upon their cultivation, and the profits of the extraordinary stock which puts that labour into motion.
The fugar colonies poffeffed by the European nations in the Weft Indies, may be compared to thofe precious vineyards. Their whole produce falls fhort of the effectual demand of Europe, and can be difpofed of to thofe who are willing to give
BOOK give more than what is fufficient to pay the whole rent, profit and wages neceffary for preparing and bringing it to market, according to the rate at which they are commonly paid by any other produce. In Cochin-china the fineft white fugar commonly fells for three piaftres the quintal, about thirteen fhillings and fixpence of our money, as we are told by Mr. Poivre*, a very careful obferver of the agriculture of that country. What is there called the quintal weighs from a hundred and fifty to two hundred Paris pounds, or a hundred and feventy-five Paris pounds at a medium, which reduces the price of the hundred weight English to about eight fhillings fterling, not a fourth part of what is commonly paid for the brown or muskavada fugars imported from our colonies, and not a fixth part of what is paid for the finest white fugar. The greater part of the cultivated lands in Cochinchina are employed in producing corn and rice, the food of the great body of the people. The respective prices of corn, rice, and fugar, are there probably in the natural proportion, or in that which naturally takes place in the different crops of the greater part of cultivated land, and and which recompences the landlord and farmer, as nearly as can be computed, according to what is ufually the original expence of improvement and the annual expence of cultivation. But in our fugar colonies the price of fugar bears no fuch proportion to that of the produce of a rice or corn field either in Europe or in America. It Voyages d'un Philofophe.
is commonly faid, that a fugar planter expects CHA P. that the rum and the molaffes fhould defray the whole expence of his cultivation, and that his fugar fhould be all clear profit. If this be true, for I pretend not to affirm it, it is as if a corn farmer expected to defray the expence of his cultivation with the chaff and the ftraw, and that the grain should be all clear profit. We fee frequently focieties of merchants in London and other trading towns, purchase wafte lands in our fugar colonies, which they expect to improve and cultivate with profit by means of factors and agents; notwithstanding the great diftance and the uncertain returns, from the defective adminiftration of justice in thofe countries. Nobody will attempt to improve and cultivate in the fame manner the moft fertile lands of Scotland, Ireland, or the corn provinces of North America, though from the more exact adminiftration of juftice in these countries, more regular returns might be expected.
In Virginia and Maryland the cultivation of tobacco is preferred, as more profitable, to that of corn. Tobacco might be cultivated with advantage through the greater part of Europe; but in almost every part of Europe it has become a principal fubject of taxation, and to collect a tax from every different farm in the country where this plant might happen to be cultivated, would be more difficult, it has been fuppofed, than to levy one upon its importation at the cuftom-houfe. The cultivation of tobacco has this account been moft abfurdly prohibited R 3 through
BOOK through the greater part of Europe, which neceffarily gives a fort of monopoly to the countries, where it is allowed; and as Virginia and Mary, land produce the greateft quantity of it, they fhare largely, though with fome competitors, in the advantage of this monopoly. The cultivation of tobacco, however, feems not to be fo advantageous as that of fugar. I have never even heard of any tobacco plantation that was improved and cultivated by the capital of merchants who refided in Great Britain, and our tobacco colonies fend us home no fuch wealthy planters as we fee frequently arrive from our fugar islands. Though from the preference given in those colonies to the cultivation of tobacco above that of corn, it would appear that the effectual demand of Europe for tobacco is not completely supplied, it probably is more nearly fo than that for fugar: And though the prefent price of tobacco is probably more than fufficient to pay the whole rent, wages and profit neceffary for preparing and bringing it to market, according to the rate at which they are commonly paid in corn land; it muft not be fo much more as the prefent price of fugar. Our tobacco planters, accordingly, have fhewn the fame fear of the fuper-abundance of tobacco, which the proprietors of the old vineyards in France have of the fuper-abundance of wine. By act of affembly they have reftrained its cultivation to fix thousand plants, fuppofed to yield a thoufand weight of tobacco, for every negro between fixteen and fixty years of age. Such a negro, over and
above this quantity of tobacco, can manage, they cHAP. reckon, four acres of Indian corn. To prevent the market from being overstocked too, they have fometimes, in plentiful years, we are told by Dr. Douglas *, (I fufpect he has been ill informed) burnt a certain quantity of tobacco for every negro, in the fame manner as the Dutch are faid to do of fpices. If fuch violent methods are neceffary to keep up the present price of tobacco, the fuperior advantage of its culture over that of corn, if it still has any, will not probably be of long continuance.
It is in this manner that the rent of the cultivated land, of which the produce is human food, regulates the rent of the greater part of other cultivated land. No particular produce can long afford lefs; because the land would immediately be turned to another ufe: And if any particular produce commonly affords more, it is because the quantity of land which can be fitted for it is too fmall to fupply the effectual demand.
In Europe corn is the principal produce of land which ferves immediately for human food. Except in particular fituations, therefore, the rent of corn land regulates in Europe that of all other cultivated land. Britain need envy neither the vineyards of France nor the olive plantations of Italy. Except in particular fituations, the value of these is regulated by that of corn, in which the fertility of Britain is not much inferior to that of either of thofe two countries.
*Douglas's Summary, vol. ii. p. 372, 373.