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cording to this account, muft, one with another, CHAP. attempt to rear at least four children, in order that two may have an equal chance of living to that age. But the neceffary maintenance of four children, it is fuppofed, may be nearly equal to that of one man. The labour of an able-bodied flave, the fame author adds, is computed to be worth double his maintenance; and that of the meaneft labourer, he thinks, cannot be worth lefs than that of an able-bodied flave. Thus far at least feems certain, that, in order to bring up a family, the labour of the hufband and wife together muft, even in the loweft fpecies of common labour, be able to earn fomething more than what is precifely neceffary for their own maintenance; but in what proportion, whether in that above mentioned, or in any other, I fhall not take upon me to determine.
There are certain circumftances, however, which fometimes give the labourers an advantage, and enable them to raise their wages confiderably above this rate; evidently the loweft which is confiftent with common humanity.
When in any country the demand for those who live by wages; labourers, journeymen, fer. vants of every kind, is continually increafing; when every year furnishes employment for a greater number than had been employed the year before, the workmen have no occafion to combine in order to raise their wages. The fcarcity of hands occafions a competition among mafters, who bid against one another, in order to get workmen, and thus voluntarily break through
BOOK through the natural combination of masters not to raise wages.
The demand for those who live by wages, it is evident, cannot increase but in proportion to the increase of the funds which are deftined for the payment of wages. Thefe funds are of two kinds: firft, the revenue which is over and above what is neceffary for the maintenance; and, fecondly, the stock which is over and above what is neceffary for the employment of their mafters.
When the landlord, annuitant, or monied man, has a greater revenue than what he judges fufficient to maintain his own family, he employs either the whole or a part of the furplus in maintaining one or more menial fervants. Increase this furplus, and he will naturally increase the number of thofe fervants.
When an independent workman, fuch as a weaver or fhoe-maker, has got more flock than what is fufficient to purchase the materials of his own work, and to maintain himself till he can difpofe of it, he naturally employs one or more journeymen with the furplus, in order to make a profit by their work. .Increase this furplus, and he will naturally increase the number of his journeymen.
The demand for those who live by wages, therefore, neceffarily increases with the increase of the revenue and stock of every country, and cannot poffibly increase without it. The increase of revenue and ftock is the increase of national wealth. The demand for those who live by
wages, therefore, naturally increases with the CHA P. increase of national wealth, and cannot poffibly
increase without it.
It is not the actual greatnefs of national wealth, but its continual increase, which occafions a rife in the wages of labour. It is not, accordingly, in the richest countries, but in the moft thriving, or in thofe which are growing rich the fastest, that the wages of labour are higheft. England is certainly, in the prefent times, a much richer country than any part of North America. The wages of labour, however, are much higher in North America than in any part of England. In the province of New York, common labourers earn three fhillings and fixpence currency, equal to two fhillings fterling, a day; fhip carpenters, ten fhillings and fixpence currency, with a pint of rum worth fixpence fterling, equal in all to fix fhillings and fixpence fterling; house carpenters and bricklayers, eight fhillings currency, equal to four fhillings and fixpence fterling; journeymen taylors, five fhillings currency, equal to about two fhillings and ten pence fterling. Thefe prices are all above the London price; and wages are faid to be as high in the other colonies as in New York. The price of provifions is every where in North America much lower than in England. A dearth has never been known there. In the worst seasons, they have always had a fuf
* This was written in 1773, before the commencement of the late disturbances.
BOOK ficiency for themselves, though less for exportaI. tion. If the money price of labour, therefore,
be higher than it is any where in the mother country, its real price, the real command of the neceffaries and conveniences of life which it conveys to the labourer, must be higher in a still greater proportion.
But though North America is not yet fo rich as England, it is much more thriving, and advancing with much greater rapidity to the further acquifition of riches. The most decifive mark of the profperity of any country is the increase of the number of its inhabitants.. In Great Britain, and most other European countries, they are not fuppofed to double in lefs than five hundred years. In the British colonies in North America, it has been found, that they double in twenty or five-and-twenty years. Nor in the present times is this increase principally owing to the continual importation of new inhabitants, but to the great multiplication of the fpecies. Those who live to old age, it is faid, frequently fee there from fifty to a hundred, and fometimes many more, defcendants from their own body. Labour is there fo well rewarded, that a numerous family of children, inftead of being a burthen, is a fource of opulence and profperity to the parents. The labour of each child, before it can leave their houfe, is computed to be worth a hundred pounds clear gain to them. A young widow with four or five young children, who, among the middling or inferior ranks of people in Europe, would have fo little chance for a fecond
a fecond husband, is there frequently courted as a CHA P. fort of fortune. The value of children is the VIII. greatest of all encouragements to marriage. We cannot, therefore, wonder that the people in North America fhould generally marry very young. Notwithstanding the great increase occafioned by fuch early marriages, there is a continual complaint of the fcarcity of hands in North America. The demand for labourers, the funds deftined for maintaining them, increase, it seems, ftill faster than they can find labourers to employ.
Though the wealth of a country should be very great, yet if it has been long ftationary, we muft not expect to find the wages of labour very high in it. The funds deftined for the payment of wages, the revenue and ftock of its inhabitants, may be of the greatest extent; but if they have continued for feveral centuries of the fame, or very nearly of the fame extent, the number of labourers employed every year could easily fupply, and even more than supply, the number wanted the following year. There could feldom be any fcarcity of hands, nor could the mafters be obliged to bid against one another in order to get them. The hands, on the contrary, would, in this cafe, naturally multiply beyond their employment. There would be a conftant fcarcity of employment, and the labourers would be obliged to bid against one another in order to get it. If in fuch a country the wages of labour had ever been more than fufficient to maintain the labourer, and to enable him to bring up a