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BOOK poor country, in a country which abounds with fubfiftence, than in one which is but indifferently supplied with it. If the two countries are at a great distance, the difference may be very great; because though the metals naturally fly from the worse to the better market, yet it may be difficult to tranfport them in fuch quantities as to bring their price nearly to a level in both. If the countries are near, the difference will be fmaller, and may fometimes be fcarce percep tible; because in this cafe the tranfportation will be eafy. China is a much richer country than any part of Europe, and the difference be tween the price of fubfiftence in China and in Europe is very great. Rice in China is much cheaper than wheat is any-where in Europe. England is a much richer country than Scotland; but the difference between the money. price of corn in thofe two countries is much fmaller, and is but juft perceptible. In proportion to the quantity or measure, Scotch corn generally appears to be a good deal cheaper than English; but in proportion to its quality, it is certainly fomewhat dearer. Scotland receives almost every year very large fupplies from England, and every commodity muft commonly be fomewhat dearer in the country to which it is brought than in that from which it comes. Englifh corn, therefore, must be dearer in Scotland than in England, and yet in proportion to its quality, or to the quantity and goodness of the flour or meal which can be made from it, it cannot commonly be fold higher there than the Scotch
Scotch corn, which comes to market in compe- C HA P. tition with it.
The difference between the money price of labour in China and in Europe, is ftill greater than that between the money price of fubfift. ence; because the real recompence of labour is higher in Europe than in China, the greater part of Europe being in an improving state, while China feems to be ftanding ftill. The money price of labour is lower in Scotland than in England, because the real recompence of labour is much lower; Scotland, though advancing to greater wealth, advancing much more flowly than England. The frequency of emigration from Scotland, and the rarity of it from England, fufficiently prove that the demand for labour is very different in the two countries. The proportion between the real recompence of labour in different countries, it must be remem. bered, is naturally regulated, not by their actual wealth or poverty, but by their advancing, ftationary, or declining condition.
Gold and filver, as they are naturally of the greatest value among the richest, so they are naturally of the leaft value among the pooreft nations. Among favages, the pooreft of all nations, they are of scarce any value.
In great towns corn is always dearer than in remote parts of the country. This, however, is the effect, not of the real cheapness of filver, but of the real dearnefs of corn. It does not coft lefs labour to bring filver to the great town than to the remote parts of the country; but it cofts a great deal more to bring corn.
B O O K In fome very rich and commercial countries, fuch as Holland and the territory of Genoa, corn is dear for the fame reason that it is dear in great towns. They do not produce enough to maintain their inhabitants. They are rich in the industry and skill of their artificers and manufacturers; in every fort of machinery which can facilitate and abridge labour; in fhipping, and in all the other inftruments and means of carriage and commerce: but they are poor in corn, which, as it must be brought to them from dif tant countries, muft, by an addition to its price, pay for the carriage from thofe countries. It does not coft lefs labour to bring filver to Amfterdam than to Dantzick; but it cofts a great deal more to bring corn. The real coft of filver must be nearly the fame in both places; but that of corn muft be very different. Diminish the real opulence either of Holland or of the territory of Genoa, while the number of their inhabitants remains the fame: diminish their power of supplying themfelves from diftant countries; and the price of corn, inftead of finking with that diminution in the quantity of their filver, which must neceffarily accompany this declenfion either as its caufe or as its effect, will rife to the price of a famine. When we are in want of neceffaries we muft part with all fuperfluities, of which the value, as it rifes in times of opulence and profperity, fo it finks in times of poverty and diftrefs. It is otherwife with neceffaries. Their real price, the quantity of labour which they can purchafe or command, rifes in
times of poverty and diftrefs, and finks in times CHA P. of opulence and profperity, which are always times of great abundance; for they could not otherwife be times of opulence and profperity. Corn is a neceffary, filver is only a fuperfluity,
Whatever, therefore, may have been the increase in the quantity of the precious metals, which, during the period between the middle of the fourteenth and that of the fixteenth century, arofe from the increase of wealth and improvément, it could have no tendency to diminish their value either in Great Britain, or in any other part of Europe. If those who have collected the prices of things in ancient times, therefore, had, during this period, no reason to infer the diminution of the value of filver, from any obfervations which they had made upon the prices either of corn or of other commodities, they had still lefs reafon to infer it from any fup. pofed increase of wealth and improvement,
BUT how various foever may have been the opinions of the learned concerning the progrefs of the value of filver during this first period, they are unanimous concerning it during the fecond,
From about 1570 to about 1640, during a period of about seventy years, the variation in the proportion between the value of filver and that of corn, held a quite opposite courfe, Sil,
BOOK ver funk in its real value, or would exchange I. for a fmaller quantity of labour than before; and corn rose in its nominal price, and instead of being commonly fold for about two ounces of filver the quarter, or about ten fhillings of our present money, came to be fold for fix and eight ounces of filver the quarter, or about thirty and forty fhillings of our prefent money.
The discovery of the abundant mines of America, feems to have been the fole cause of this diminution in the value of filver in proportion to that of corn. It is accounted for accordingly in the fame manner by every body; and there never has been any dispute either about the fact, or about the caufe of it. The greater part of Europe was, during this period, advancing in industry and improvement, and the demand for filver muft confequently have been increafing. But the increase of the fupply had, it feems, fo far exceeded that of the demand, that the value of that metal funk confiderably. The discovery of the mines of America, it is to be obferved, does not feem to have had any very fenfible effect upon the prices of things in England till after 1570; though even the mines of Potofi had been difcovered more than twenty years before.
From 1595 to 1620, both inclufive, the ave rage price of the quarter of nine bufhels of the beft wheat at Windfor market, appears from the accounts of Eton College, to have been 2l. 18. 6 d. From which fum, neglecting the fraction, and deducting, a ninth, or 4s. 74d. the