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BOOK If in any country the common and favourite vegetable food of the people fhould be drawn from a plant of which the moft common land, with the fame or nearly the fame culture, produced a much greater quantity than the most fertile does of corn, the rent of the landlord, or the furplus quantity of food which would remain to him, after paying the labour and replacing the flock of the farmer together with its ordinary profits, would neceffarily be much greater. Whatever was the rate at which labour was commonly maintained in that country, this greater furplus could always maintain a greater quantity of it, and confequently enable the landlord to purchase or command a greater quantity of it. The real value of his rent, his real power and authority, his command of the neceffaries and conveniencies of life with which the labour of other people could fupply him, would neceffarily be much greater.
A rice field produces a much greater quantity of food than the most fertile corn field. Two crops in the year from thirty to fixty bufhels each, are faid to be the ordinary produce of an acre. Though its cultivation, therefore, requires more labour, a much greater furplus remains after maintaining all that labour. In thofe rice countries, therefore, where rice is the common and favourite vegetable food of the people, and where the cultivators are chiefly maintained with it, a greater fhare of this greater furplus fhould belong to the landlord than in corn countries. In Carolina, where the
planters, as in other British colonies, are gene- CHA P. rally both farmers and landlords, and where rent confequently is confounded with profit, the cultivation of rice is found to be more profitable than that of corn, though their fields produce only one crop in the year, and though, from the prevalence of the customs of Europe, rice is not there the common and favourite vegetable food of the people.
A good rice field is a bog at all seasons, and at one feafon a bog covered with water. It is unfit either for corn, or pafture, or vineyard, or, indeed, for any other vegetable produce that is very ufeful to men: And the lands which are fit for thofe purposes, are not fit for rice. Even in the rice countries, therefore, the rent of rice lands cannot regulate the rent of the other cultivated land which can never be turned to that produce.
The food produced by a field of potatoes is not inferior in quantity to that produced by a field of rice, and much fuperior to what is produced by a field of wheat. Twelve thoufand weight of potatoes from an acre of land is not a greater produce than two thousand weight of wheat. The food or folid nourishment, indeed, which can be drawn from each of those two plants, is not altogether in proportion to their weight, on account of the watery nature of potatoes. Allowing, however, half the weight of this root to go to water, a very large allowance, fuch an acre of potatoes will ftill produce fix thousand weight of folid nourishment, three
BOOK times the quantity produced by the acre of I. wheat. An acre of potatoes is cultivated with lefs expence than an acre of wheat; the fallow, which generally precedes the fowing of wheat, more than compenfating the hoeing and other extraordinary culture which is always given to potatoes. Should this root ever become in any part of Europe, like rice in fome rice countries, the common and favourite vegetable food of the people, fo as to occupy the fame proportion of the lands in tillage which wheat and other forts of grain for human food do at prefent, the fame quantity of cultivated land would maintain a much greater number of people, and the labourers being generally fed with potatoes, a greater furplus would remain after replacing all the stock and maintaining all the labour employed in cultivation. A greater fhare of this furplus too would belong to the landlord. Population would increase, and rents would rife much beyond what they are at present.
The land which is fit for potatoes, is fit for almost every other useful vegetable. If they occupied the fame proportion of cultivated land which corn does at prefent, they would regulate, in the fame manner, the rent of the greater part of other cultivated land.
In fome parts of Lancashire it is pretended, I have been told, that bread of oatmeal is a heartier food for labouring people than wheaten bread, and I have frequently heard the fame doctrine held in Scotland. I am, however, fomewhat doubtful of the truth of it. The com
mon people in Scotland, who are fed with oat- C H A P. meal, are in general neither fo ftrong nor fo handsome as the fame rank of people in England who are fed with wheaten bread. They neither work fo well, nor look fo well; and as there is not the fame difference between the people of fashion in the two countries, experience would feem to fhow, that the food of the common people in Scotland is not fo fuitable to the human conftitution as that of their neighbours of the fame rank in England. But it feems to be otherwise with potatoes. The chairmen, porters, and coal-heavers in London, and thofe unfortunate women who live by prostitution, the strongeft men and the most beautiful women perhaps in the British Dominions, are faid to be, the greater part of them, from the loweft rank of people in Ireland, who are generally fed with this root. No food can afford a more decifive proof of its nourishing quality, or of its being peculiarly fuitable to the health of the human conftitution.
It is difficult to preserve potatoes through the year, and impoffible to ftore them like corn, for two or three years together. The fear of not being able to fell them before they rot, discourages their cultivation, and is, perhaps, the chief obstacle to their ever becoming in any great country, like bread, the principal vegetable food of all the different ranks of the people.
Of the Produce of Land which fometimes does, and fometimes does not, afford Rent.
UMAN food feems to be the only produce
of land which always and neceffarily affords fome rent to the landlord. Other forts of produce fometimes may and fometimes may not, according to different circumstances.
After food, cloathing and lodging are the two great wants of mankind.
Land in its original rude ftate can afford the materials of cloathing and lodging to a much greater number of people than it can feed. In its improved state it can fometimes feed a greater number of people than it can supply with thofe materials; at least, in the way in which they require them, and are willing to pay for them. In the one state, therefore, there is always a fuperabundance of thofe materials, which are frequently, upon that account, of little or no value. In the other there is often a fcarcity, which neceffarily augments their value. In the one state a great part of them is thrown away as ufelefs, and the price of what is ufed is confidered as equal only to the labour and expence of fitting it for ufe, and can, therefore, afford no rent to the landlord. In the other they are all made ufe of, and there is frequently a demand for more than can be had. Somebody is always willing to give more for every part of them than