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Of Money confidered as a particular Branch
of the general Stock of the Society, or of
the Expence of maintaining the National
THE THIRD EDITION.
HE First Edition of the following Work was printed in the end of the year 1775, and in the beginning of the year 1776. Through the greater part of the Book, there fore, whenever the prefent ftate of things is mentioned, it is to be underflood of the state they were in, either about that time, or at fome earlier period, during the time I was employed in writing the Book. To the Third Edition, however, I have made feveral additions, particularly to the chapter upon Drawbacks, and to that upon Bounties; likewife a new chapter entitled, The Conclufion of the Mercantile Syftem; and a new article to the chapter upon the expences of the Sovereign. In all these additions, the prefent flate of things means always the ftate in which they were during the year 1783 and the beginning of the year 1784.
THE FOURTH EDITION.
N this Fourth Edition I have made no alterations of any kind. I now, however, find myself at liberty to acknowledge my very great obligations to Mr. HENRY HOPE of Amfterdam. To that Gentleman I owe the most diftinct, as well as liberal information, concerning a very interefting and important fubject, the Bank of Amfterdam; of which no printed account had ever appeared to me fatisfactory, or even intelligible. The name of that Gentleman is fo well known in Europe, the information which comes from him must do fo much honour to whoever has been favoured with it, and my vanity is fo much interested in making this acknowledgement, that I can no longer refufe myself the pleasure of prefixing this Advertisement to this new Edition of my Book.
NATURE AND CAUSES
WEALTH OF NATIONS.
INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK.
HE annual labour of every nation is the Introduct. fund which originally fupplies it with all the neceffaries and conveniences of life which it annually confumes, and which confist always either in the immediate produce of that labour, or in what is purchased with that produce from other nations.
According therefore, as this produce, or what is purchased with it, bears a greater or smaller proportion to the number of thofe who are to confume it, the nation will be better or worfe supplied with all the neceffaries and conve niencies for which it has occafion.
But this proportion must in every nation bę regulated by two different circumftances; firft, by the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which its
Introduct. its labour is generally applied; and, fecondly, by the proportion between the number of those who are employed in ufeful labour, and that of those who are not fo employed. Whatever be the foil, climate, or extent of territory of any particular nation, the abundance or fcantiness of its annual fupply muft, in that particular fituation, depend upon those two circumstances.
The abundance or fcantinefs of this fupply too feems to depend more upon the former of those two circumstances than upon the latter. Among the favage nations of hunters and fishers, every individual who is able to work, is more or lefs employed in useful labour, and endeavours to provide, as well as he can, the neceffaries and conveniences of life, for himself, or fuch of his family or tribe as are either too old, or too young, or too infirm to go a hunting and fishing. Such nations, however, are fo miferably poor, that from mere want, they are frequently reduced, or, at least, think themselves reduced, to the neceffity fometimes of directly deftroying, and fometimes of abandoning their infants, their old people, and thofe afflicted with lingering diseases, to perish with hunger, or to be devoured by wild beafts. Among civilized and thriving nations, on the contrary, though a great number of people do not labour at all, many of whom confume the producè of ten times, frequently of a hundred times more labour than the greater part of thofe who work; yet the produce of the whole labour of the fociety is fo great, that all are often abundantly fupplied, and a workman,