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BOOK" fhillings the broad yard." In the 3d of Edward IV. two fhillings contained very nearly the fame quantity of filver as four of our prefent money. But the Yorkshire cloth which is now fold at four fhillings the yard, is probably much fuperior to any that was then made for the wearing of the very pooreft order of common fervants. Even the money price of their clothing, therefore, may, in proportion to the qual lity, be fomewhat cheaper in the present than it was in those ancient times. The real price is certainly a good deal cheaper. Ten-pence was then reckoned what is called the moderate and reasonable price of a bufhel of wheat. Two fhillings, therefore, was the price of two bushels and near two pecks of wheat, which in the prefent times, at three fhillings and fixpence the bufhel, would be worth eight fhillings and nine-pence. For a yard of this cloth the poor fervant must have parted with the power of purchafing a quantity of fubfiftence equal to what eight fhillings and nine-pence would purchase in the present times. This is a fumptuary law too, reftraining the luxury and extravagance of the poor. Their clothing, therefore, had commonly been much more expenfive.
The fame order of people are, by the fame law, prohibited from wearing hofe, of which the price fhould exceed fourteen-pence the pair, equal to about eight-and-twenty pence of our prefent money. But fourteen-pence was in those times the price of a bufhel and near two pecks of wheat; which, in the present times, at three and fixpence
fixpence the bufhel, would coft five fhillings and CHAP. three-pence. We fhould in the present times confider this as a very high price for a pair of ftockings to a fervant of the pooreft and lowest order. He muft, however, in those times have paid what was really equivalent to this price for them.
In the time of Edward IV. the art of knitting ftockings was probably not known in any part of Europe. Their hofe were made of common cloth, which may have been one of the causes of their dearnefs. The firft perfon that wore ftockings in England is faid to have been Queen Elizabeth. She received them as a prefent from the Spanish ambaffador.
Both in the coarfe and in the fine woollen manufacture, the machinery employed was much more imperfect in those ancient, than it is in the prefent times. It has fince received three very capital improvements, befides, probably, many fmaller ones of which it may be difficult to afcertain either the number or the importance, The three capital improvements are: firft, The exchange of the rock and spindle for the fpinning-wheel, which, with the fame quantity of labour, will perform more than double the quantity of work. Secondly, the ufe of feveral very ingenious machines which facilitate and abridge in a ftill greater proportion the winding of the worsted and woollen yarn, or the proper arrangement of the warp and woof before they are put into the loom; an operation which, preCC 3
BOOK vious to the invention of those machines, muft have been extremely tedious and troublesome. Thirdly, The employment of the fulling mill for thickening the cloth, instead of treading it in water. Neither wind nor water mills of any kind were known in England fo early as the beginning of the fixteenth century, nor, fo far as I know, in any other part of Europe north of the Alps. They had been introduced into Italy fome time before.
The confideration of these circumstances may, perhaps, in fome measure explain to us why the real price both of the coarfe and of the fine manufacture, was fo much higher in those ancient, than it is in the prefent times. It coft a greater quantity of labour to bring the goods to market. When they were brought thither, therefore, they must have purchased or exchanged for the price of a greater quantity.
The coarfe manufacture probably was, in thofe ancient times, carried on in England, in the fame manner as it always has been in countries where arts and manufactures are in their infancy. It was probably a houfhold manufacture, in which every different part of the work was occafionally performed by all the different members of almost every private family; but fo as to be their work only when they had nothing else to do, and not to be the principal business from which any of them derived the greater part of their fubfiftence. The work which is performed in this manner, it has already been obferved,
comes always much cheaper to market than that CHA P. which is the principal or fole fund of the workman's fubfiftence, The fine manufacture, on the other hand, was not in thofe times carried on in England, but in the rich and commercial country of Flanders; and it was probably conducted then, in the fame manner as now, by people who derived the whole, or the principal part of their fubfiftence from it. It was befides a foreign manufacture, and must have paid fome duty, the ancient custom of tonnage and poundage at least, to the King. This duty, indeed, would not probably be very great. It was not then the policy of Europe to reftrain, by high duties, the importation of foreign manufactures, but rather to encourage it, in order that merchants might be enabled to fupply, at as eafy a rate as poffible, the great men with the conveniencies and luxuries which they wanted, and which the industry of their own country could not afford them.
The confideration of thefe circumstances may perhaps in fome measure explain to us why, in those ancient times, the real price of the coarse manufacture was, in proportion to that of the fine, fo much lower than in the present times,
CONCLUSION OF THE CHAPTER.
SHALL conclude this very long chapter with obferving, that every improvement in the cir cumstances of the fociety tends either directly or indirectly to raise the real rent of land, to increase the real wealth of the landlord, his power of purchafing the labour, or the produce of the labour of other people.
The extenfion of improvement and cultivation tends to raise it directly. The landlord's fhare of the produce neceffarily increases with the increase of the produce.
That rife in the real price of thofe parts of the rude produce of land, which is first the effect of extended improvement and cultivation, and afterwards the caufe of their being ftill further extended, the rife in the price of cattle, for example, tends too to raise the rent of land directly, and in a still greater proportion. The real value of the landlord's fhare, his real command of the labour of other people, not only rifes with the real value of the produce, but the proportion of his fhare to the whole produce rifes with it. That produce, after the rife in its real price, requires no more labour to collect it than before. A fmaller proportion of it will, therefore, be fufficient to replace, with the ordinary profit, the stock which employs that labour. A greater proportion of it muft, confequently, belong to the landlord.