Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER I.—: Of the nature and origin of wealth and Commerce. - A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money
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CHAPTER I.—: Of the nature and origin of wealth and Commerce. - John Ramsay McCulloch, A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money 
A Select Collection of Scarce and Valuable Tracts on Money from the Originals of Vaughan, Cotton, Petty, Lowndes, Newton, Prior, Harris, and Others, with a Preface, Notes, and Index (London: Printed for the Political Economy Club, 1856).
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Of the nature and origin of wealth and Commerce.
Of wealth, what, and wherein it consists.
1. THE earth abounds with an infinite variety of materials, for the comfortable subsistence of human life: Besides the great diversity of food, vegetable and animal, more than sufficient to satiate the most gluttonous appetite; how admirably are wood, stones, metals, &c. adapted to their various uses! What is there left unprovided, and of what kind is that other material that could have added to human conveniency? But amidst this vast profusion of things, the earth spontaneously produces but few that are ready fitted for our use: Some pains and industry are required on our part, without which our condition upon this globe would, perhaps, be the most forlorn and uncomfortable of any of its inhabitants. But of this we have no cause to complain: Labour or bodily exercise, in a certain degree, is not only easy but pleasant to us, conducive to our health, and every way suited to our nature; and we are endued with ample powers for adopting and fitting the materials about us, according to our various exigencies and occasions. Land and labour together are the sources of all wealth; without a competency of land, there would be no subsistence; and but a very poor and uncomfortable one, without labour. So that wealth or riches consist either in a propriety in land, or in the products of land and labour.
In wealthy countries, the value of the labour is much greater than that of the land.
2. The proportional values of land and product, differ very much in different countries; as the soils are respectively more or less fertil, and the inhabitants more or less industrious, and skilful. Without some kind of tillage, much land will be requisite to maintain a few inhabitants; and a small field of wheat will afford nourishment to more people, than a large forest yielding nothing but acorns and wild fruits. The annual produce of labour in England, I imagine, is of much greater value than the rent of the land; but their exact proportion to each other, cannot be easily assigned. It is commonly supposed that a farmer, to be enabled to live comfortably, must make three rents of his land; and when we consider the coarseness of those commodities, that are commonly expended in a farmer’s house, in comparison of many others consumed by those of more affluent fortunes; the value of labour to that of land, must be with us greater than that of 2 to 1. Wool wrought into cloth is much advanced in its value; thread may be of above 100 times the value of the flax whereof it was made. The value of the materials in* watches, and innumerable other things made of metals, is but small in comparison of the value of the workmanship. But we must not pursue this notion too far: The numbers employed about these costly things, may not bear a large proportion to those who are either idle, or occupied about tillage, buildings, or other manufacturies; where the raw materials are worth near as much, or sometimes more, than the labour bestowed upon them. The British merchant computes the value of labour to that of land in England to be as 7 to 2* . He supposes the people of England to be 7 millions, and each man at a medium to expend 7 pounds each, which makes the whole annual consumption of England 49 millions; 45 millions of which he supposes to be our own product, 4 millions foreign commodities; and the rents of the lands he makes 14 millions.
Values of things, how estimated.
3. Things in general are valued, not according to their real uses in supplying the necessities of men; but rather in proportion to the land, labour and skill that are requisite to produce them: It is according to this proportion nearly, that things or commodities are exchanged one for another; and it is by the said scale, that the intrinsic values of most things are chiefly estimated. Water is of great use, and yet ordinarily of little or no value; because in most places, water flows spontaneously in such great plenty, as not to be with-held within the limits of private property; but all may have enough, without other expence than that of bringing or conducting it, when the case so requires. On the other hand, diamonds, being very scarce, have upon that account a great value, though they are but of little use. A quicker or slower demand for a particular commodity, will frequently raise or lower its price, though no alteration hath happened in its intrinsic value or prime cost; men being always ready to take the advantage of one another’s fancies, whims or necessities; and the proportion of buyers to sellers, or the demand for any particular commodity in respect to its quantity, will always have an influence on the market. The intrinsic value of a particular commodity may be also enhanced, though its quality is debased; as a bushel of musty grain at one season, may be worth much more, than the like quantity of good grain at another.
Cheapness, how estimated.
4. Commodities are called bulky or said to be* cheap, which bear but a small proportion of value to others of equal bulk; and these are natural products, either growing spontaneously, or requiring no great art and labour in their cultivation; as grain of all sorts, cattle for food or labour, timber and stone for building, fuel, &c. The goodness of Providence having so ordered things, that those main supports of life should abound every where, according to the exigencies of different climates. And of metals, that most useful one, iron, is in our happy clime the cheapest.
Natural products, &c. subject to a greater variation in their value, than artificial.
5. The quantity of corn, &c. produced from the same number of acres, and from the same quantity of labour, being sometimes very different, according to the difference of seasons; grain of all sorts, as also cattle from mortality amongst them, or other casualties, are subject to much greater variations in their values, than artificial products; and a bushel of corn may be worth twice or thrice as much cloth, at one time as at another. Corn must be had; and the farmers will endeavour to make as much of their small stock, as when they had a greater plenty; on the other hand, when the market is full, they must lower their price; till, after reckoning the value of the land, the labour bestowed in raising a bushel of corn, and in fabricating the thing for which it is exchanged, are on both sides nearly equal. Things of a more limited vent, are subject to vary yet more from their usual price, than corn, as apples, hops, &c.
Things are the more valued, the farther they are from the place where they were first produced.
6. Things near the place where they are produced, whether by nature or art, have naturally a less value in proportion to other things, than they have in places more remote; and this in proportion to the risques of all sorts, and expences of carriage. Silver is naturally cheaper in Mexico than in Spain, and in Spain than in the rest of Europe. Things that are rare, or for which there is no great demand, are generally dearer than in the above proportion: For, when there are but few dealers in any commodity, they seldom fail to enhance its price, and that sometimes very exorbitantly. One great mystery of trade, is to keep off new adventurers, by concealing its profits; and whilst that may be done, the gains will be large.
The price of labour, the chief standard that regulates the values of all things.
7. The values of land and labour do, as it were of themselves, mutually settle or adjust one another; and as all things or commodities, are the products of those two; so their several values are naturally adjusted by them. But as in most productions, labour hath the greatest share; the value of labour is to be reckoned the chief standard that regulates the values of all commodities; and more especially as the value of land is, as it were, already allowed for in the value of labour itself.
Men’s various necessities and appetites, oblige them to part with their own commodities, at a rate proportionable to the labour and skill that had been bestowed upon those things, which they want in exchange: If they will not comply with the market, their goods will remain on their hands; and if at first, one trade be more profitable than another, skill as well as labour and risques of all sorts, being taken into the account; more men will enter into that business, and in their outvying will undersell one another, till at length the great profit of it is brought down to a par with the rest.
Some estimate of the value of labour.
8. It may be reasonably allowed, that a labouring man ought to earn at least, twice as much as will maintain himself in ordinary food and cloathing; that he may be enabled to breed up children, pay rent for a small dwelling, find himself in necessary utensils, &c. So much at least the labourer must be allowed, that the community may be perpetuated: And as the world goes, there is no likelihood that the lowest kind of labourers will be allowed more than a bare subsistence; if they will not be content with that, there will be others ready to step into their places; and less, as above observed, cannot be given them. And hence the quantity of* land that goes to maintain a labourer, becomes his hire; and this hire again becomes the value of the land; the expences of manuring and tilling it, being also included. There is a difference in the proportion of the value of an acre of land to a given quantity of labour, all over the world; and this ariseth, not only from the different goodness of the land, but also from the different ways of living of the peasants in different places. For, where labour is very cheap, that is, where the labourers live very poorly, land will be also cheap; as the poor, from their numbers, are the principal consumers of the grosser products of the earth. So that every where, I think, the price of land is influenced by the price of labour; that is, by the quality of food and raiment consumed by the labourers; for of some sort, they must have a sufficient quantity: It seems then to be no good policy in the rich to deal too hardly with the poor; besides, that such treatment must needs greatly check arts and industry, discourage matrimony among the lower class, and inspire them with thoughts of quitting their homes, in hopes of bettering their state elsewhere. But the benevolence here hinted at, is to be tempered with discretion: The children of the poor should be brought up and inured, as early as may be, to some useful labour; and be taught with due care, the great principles of religion and morality. But all are not agreed that reading and writing, are qualifications necessary for the obtaining of those ends; some think, that these accomplishments are useful only in higher stations; and that to instruct at a public expence the youth of the lower class in reading, writing, &c. is a kind of intrusion upon the class next above them; that these qualifications, instead of being advantageous to the poor who possess them, serve only to render their state more irksome, and to inspire them with notions subversive of society. There must be labourers; and that most useful class of men should be duly cherished and taken care of: But books and pens will not alleviate the weight of the spade, or at all contribute to dry the sweat off the labourer’s brow.
Charitable contributions necessary.
9. The price of labour being fixed, so that one labourer can earn about twice as much, or something more, than what will maintain himself; if he has several young children, a sickly wife, an aged and helpless parent, or is himself disabled; he will want, and will have a right to ask, the charitable aid of some of his opulent neighbours: It is therefore almost unavoidable, but that some of the lowest class will be destitute of subsistence, who must or ought to be maintained and taken due care of, by public contributions or establishments* . If a man be single, he will earn as much as the married man; for no regard to a man’s circumstances will be had in the price of his labour; and so the single man may feed and clothe himself better than the other; and if he is frugal, he will save somewhat against he is married, which little savings may enable him to live more comfortably all the rest of his life.
Mechanics earn more than labourers, &c.
10. To bring up a child to a trade, there is not only an expence in fitting him out, and during his apprenticeship, but also a risque of his dying before he is out of his time; from which considerations a mechanic is entitled to better wages than a common labourer: And as any given trade is attended with greater risques of any sort, requires more skill, more trust, more expence in setting up, &c. the artificer will be entitled to still better wages. In like manner those professions that require genius, great confidence, a liberal education, &c. have a right to be rewarded proportionably. And thus, the prices of labour and services of different sorts, have a considerable difference founded in the nature of them: But the wages of the lower class, wherein is to be included, as well the common artificers as the husbandmen, seems to be the main and ultimate standard that regulates the values of all commodities: and if those wages be regulated by and paid in bullion, that specific bullion will be the true and real money of the country where it is so applied, notwithstanding what else may pass in greater transactions.
Of trade or commerce.
11. By the wise appointment of divine Providence, a mutual intercourse and commerce amongst men, is both conducive and necessary to their well being. Every man stands in need of the aid of others; and every country may reap advantages, by exchanging some of its superfluous products, natural or artificial, for those which it wants of foreign growth.
The first employments that a colony of people, newly settled in an uncultivated country, would naturally fall upon, would be to clear, till and sow, or plant the ground with seeds and roots proper for their nourishment; and to provide themselves with some kind of dwellings and garments, to shelter and protect them from the inclemencies of the weather: In order to obtain which, they would soon find themselves under the necessity, and feel the comforts, of associating together, and of establishing a certain mode or form of government. For, all the labour and skill of any one man, or of any one family unconnected with others, would scarce be able to procure them the common necessaries of food and cloathing; and much less would they be ever able to furnish themselves with those various conveniences, which we now so plentifully enjoy.
Men are endued with various talents and propensities, which naturally dispose and fit them for different occupations; and are, as above observed, under a necessity of betaking themselves to particular arts and employments, from their inability of otherwise acquiring all the necessaries they want, with ease and comfort* : This creates a dependance of one man upon another, and naturally unites men into societies. In like manner, as all countries differ more or less, either in the kinds or goodness of their products, natural or artificial; particular men find their advantages, which extend to communities in general, by trading with the remotest nations.
It was the necessities of men that gave birth to the arts, and long experience hath brought many of them to a surprising degree of perfection. The most curious arts now subsisting are the growth of Europe, and chiefly of the last and present age; and herein, our own country hath much to boast of† .
Usefulness of distinct trades, farther illustrated.
12. The advantages accruing to mankind from their betaking themselves severally to different occupations, are very great and obvious: For thereby, each becoming expert and skilful in his own particular art; they are enabled to furnish one another with the products of their respective labours, performed in a much better manner, and with much less toil, than any one of them could do of himself* . And the world now abounds with vastly greater quantities and varieties of artificial products, than could ever have been effected by the utmost efforts of small and unconnected societies. The farmer is the most likely person to be able to subsist of himself; but he would find it very difficult to get even implements for his husbandry, without the aid of the smith and the carpenter; and they again, find it their interest to truck with him for what they want, instead of tilling the ground themselves. In building and furnishing a house, the business becomes still more complex; and more variety of arts are necessary. And should any one undertake to provide a coat only, by going himself through the various operations of shearing the wool, carding, spinning, weaving, tucking, &c. half the labour and toil in his own particular profession, would not only have equipped him with a better garment, but also procured him other necessaries* . Besides the great incumbrance of tools, that would be requisite for the finishing of most things from the beginning; it would be next to impossible for any one man, either to find time, or to acquire skill sufficient, for the making of all those tools; he would soon find himself at a loss, and under a necessity of seeking the aid of others.
Usefulness of dealers.
13. The usefulness of people betaking and confining themselves to particular arts, is very manifest. And from hence naturally arise employments for another class of men; I mean, dealers of all sorts, from the meanest shopkeeper to the merchant: These, without applying themselves to any of the manual arts, are busied in collecting, and afterwards in distributing, the various sorts of products or commodities; and by their arts and industry, the products of the remotest places are collected, as it were, into grand store-houses; where every one may be readily supplied, according to his desires.
The dealers, like the artificers, are subdivided into distinct trades, and so, become mutually serviceable to each other. Without this subdivision, commerce would have been strangely embarrassed; many parts of it must have been totally neglected; and a monopoly here would have like bad effects, as if men tried themselves to make all the things they wanted.
Usefulness of commerce farther exemplified.
14. To exemplify the nature of commerce a little more particularly: Amidst the farmers, which we will suppose are dispersed at convenient distances over the whole country, there will be villages of different sizes, dispersed at yet greater distances. In these villages, besides some farmers, and some poor husbandmen; there will be most likely a smith, a carpenter, an alehouse-keeper, perhaps a butcher; if not a shoe-maker, at least a cobler, a petty grocer, &c. In larger villages, there will be more of these trades, and some others besides: All these have their food of the neighbouring farmers, and are supported by what they earn of them, and of one another. Their overplus, the farmers carry to the adjacent market-towns; wherein are a greater number, and a greater variety of artificers; more shops, and better sorts of goods; more publicans, and better entertainments, than are in the villages. The several shopkeepers here, fetching many or most of their goods from remote places, in large quantities at a time, can afford to furnish their respective customers at a much cheaper rate, than they could furnish themselves; as they save each of them the trouble, risque, loss of time, and expence of a long journey. These shop-keepers know also, how to procure their goods at the best hand; and they take care to furnish themselves, with whatever is necessary for the consumption of the adjacent country. The farmers, likewise, find it their advantage to dispose of their superfluous cattle, butter, cheese, &c., to drovers and chapmen, that come to meet them at known appointed fairs; and they again, know where to drive and carry, by wholesale, those commodities to a better market.
The trade of large towns, is again branched out into greater varieties; these not only supplying the lesser towns, as they do the villages, but also affording many curiosities, fit only for the gentry and people of affluent fortunes. In like manner, manufacturers and dealers, find it their interest to seek each other: Knowing before-hand where and how to dispose of his goods; the one, is enabled to pursue and cultivate his art, without that loss of time and interruption, to which he would be otherwise liable; and the other, having in his warehouse various sortments of different goods, bought at the best hand from different manufacturers, furnishes not only the petty shop-keepers or chapmen of his neighbourhood, but also many others in remote places, with all the sorts they want; which would have been endless and too expensive for them to have done, by going themselves for their little quantities to the several manufacturies, which might be dispersed at great distances.
Thus, as in the manual arts, it is the interest of each dealer, to confine himself within a certain district; and this, likewise, is of mutual advantage to the whole: By this œconomy, each particular trade becomes better understood, better cultivated, and carried on easier and cheaper; the whole community is, as it were, thereby linked together in one general commerce; and by a daily intercourse and correspondence, a large country becomes in effect as one great city; greater numbers, creating more employments, and contributing to each other’s better subsistence: It being a constant observation, that the poorest living is in thin inhabited countries. Indeed, it is trade that makes countries populous, as well as what procures the inhabitants a comfortable subsistence. Again, by the diligence of the merchant, in investigating and dispersing the products of different countries; all nations become, as it were, connected together in a commercial interest; and all enjoy the benefits of the various productions of different climates.
Of foreign commerce.
15. In a nation skilful in arts, and abounding in products for the necessaries of life; the due ordering of its own internal trade, must be its greatest concern: But yet foreign commerce is advantageous, in many respects. By the great and almost inexplicable circuit and labyrinth of trade, the peculiar riches of each respective country, are dispersed every where, to the mutual benefit of all mankind; and the whole world becomes, as it were, one community or great trading city; every climate, by the means of commerce, enjoying the peculiar fruits of the rest: By commerce, not only commodities natural and artificial, but the arts themselves are also communicated, improved, and extended; industry promoted, and useful employments found for a greater number of hands. There is perhaps no nation in the world, but what might subsist of itself; most countries abounding with means of sustaining life, suitable to their respective climates; and yet, perhaps, there is no country so fertil, or nation so polite, but what may be greatly benefited by a foreign commerce. In the West Indies, where labour is toilsome, a small degree of it suffices to procure plenty of roots for bread; and a sufficiency of flesh, fish, and fowl, are easily obtained. But the artificial products of Europe, are a beneficial exchange for the produce of the cane; and this again is convenient and acceptable to the Europeans.
Every nation should have a watchful eye over its foreign commerce; for it might so happen, that a trade which enriches the merchant, might impoverish the public. That trade is most beneficial, which exports those commodities that are least wanted at home, and upon which most labour hath been bestowed; and which brings in return the reverse sort; that is, simple products, either necessary for immediate consumption, in the form they are imported; or as materials to be wrought into commodities, wanted either for home use or exportation. In few words, that trade is best, which tends most to promote industry at home, by finding employment for most hands; and which furnishes the nation with such foreign commodities, as are either useful and necessary for our defence, or more comfortable subsistence. And that trade is the worst, that exports the least of the product of labour; that furnishes materials for manufacturies in other countries, which afterwards might interfere with some of its own; and which brings home unnecessary commodities, either soon perishable, or of a precarious value. But no nation can in all cases chuse for itself: The immediate disadvantages of some trades are to be overlooked, if in the long run and great circle of commerce, they at last turn out to be beneficial. Natural alliances, and natural rivalships, for such there are, and ever will be, betwixt particular nations, are also subjects of great moment to the statesman, though not to the merchant, in the consideration of a beneficial commerce. And to a maritime country, the increase of shipping and of mariners, is an object of great importance.
I am unwarily entered upon a large field; but my view under this head, being only to give a general idea of the nature and benefit of trade, by sketching out some of the principal lines, I must here proceed no farther: To treat this subject with tolerable accuracy, would be a large, curious and useful undertaking* .
Of the comparative riches or wealth of nations.
16. The comparative riches and strength of nations, are not to be reckoned from the extent of their dominions, or simply from their numbers of people; but rather from the fertility and aptness of the soil, for furnishing useful and necessary products; from the industry of the inhabitants, and their skilfulness in arts; and besides all this, from their having a well-modelled, and well-administered government: For a good government is itself a most valuable treasure, a main source of riches, and of all temporal blessings. The Russian map, takes in a larger extent of country than all Europe; and yet that nation till of late, made no great figure upon the stage of the world. I am inclined to think that the territory of Great Britain, is more* valuable, though less extensive, than France; and the English artists upon the whole, take the lead of all the world. The French are much more numerous than we are, and perhaps also more skilful in the arts of war; and their government, for sudden enterprises, is† better framed than ours: But the English commonalty are more robust, brave and intrepid when roused; and have from their soil and skill in arts, such great resources and advantages, that if they do but preserve their‡ constitution entire, maintain a public spirit, with union and concord amongst themselves; they may continue their independency upon other nations, to the latest times. But futurity is not ours: Let us, whilst we are, each in his place, act our parts like men, and all will be well.
The stock of a nation in all sorts of productions, natural and artificial, is to be included in the idea of its riches; and more especially its stock of those things that are necessary for the support of life, and for defence against enemies: For as men are circumstanced, this last also is a necessary ingredient. An industrious and skilful nation, having the land well stocked; the houses well furnished; the shops, warehouses, granaries and magazines of all sorts, well filled; may with great propriety be said to be rich: To this estimate, must be also added all the goods in foreign warehouses, that are the property of its merchants. When the riches of a country, are considered under this extensive view; the whole amount of its cash or bullion, cannot make so considerable a part, as people are apt to imagine. We shall consider more particularly hereafter, in what sense, and how far, gold and silver are riches: But we are not to form an idea of the riches of past ages, from the abundance they had of those metals. The Inca’s of Peru were not the richer, for the immense masses of gold they possessed; and its being so greedily eoveted, proved the cause of the loss of their country: Could they have changed their gold into iron, it would have been vastly more serviceable to them; and with it, they might probably have defended their country, against those merciless invaders, that used them so barbarously. We should not yet perhaps, reckon those people so very despicable and poor, because they had but few of the arts amongst them: They were in possession of a goodly country; had plenty of sustenance; of such apparel and buildings, as gave them content: If they had no learning, they yet had good manners, probity, and a regular government; worthy, in many respects, the imitation of the politest Europeans. But we, having tasted the sweet fruits of arts, could not part with them, without feeling the utmost reluctance; without being in a high degree sensible of the calamitous distresses of poverty. It is in the product of arts, that riches chiefly consist; and if we reckon by this standard, the present age is probably richer than any of the past; and our own nation is herein, not inferior to any of its neighbours.
Of sumptuary laws.
17. The desire of increasing in wealth and riches, is universal; many cry out against luxury, and wish to have it stopped by sumptuary laws. But this is a matter of great delicacy, and requires a nice judgment: Such laws, if not well considered, might be productive of effects, contrary to their intention. The curious arts of all sorts, are beneficial to a country; and the discouraging any of them, will, instead of begetting riches, bring on poverty. If men had contented themselves with bare necessaries, we should have wanted a thousand conveniencies, which we now enjoy; and many of the talents given to us, would have been quite useless, for want of opportunities of exerting them. The word luxury hath usually annexed to it, a kind of opprobious idea; but so far as it encourages the arts, whets the inventions of men, and finds employments for more of our own people; its influence is benign, and beneficial to the whole society. But if luxury, or fashion, tend to discourage the arts and industry at home; to stock the nation too much with costly trifles from abroad, of no real use; or with consumable commodities, not really wanted; thereby transferring the employments from our own poor, to those of other nations; to nations, it may be, not our friends; luxury then, degenerates into evil, and should be suppressed in time. Vanity, though it ruins many individuals, is yet perhaps beneficial to the community; and the ways of indulging it, should not be too much straightened: Prevent its leading to any intemperances, that may affect either the healths, morals, or industry of the people, and no harm will be done.
Industry the source of wealth, and good order that of industry: Public spirit the great fountain of national grandeur, and happiness.
18. I shall conclude this chapter, with observing again; that labour, skill, and industry, are the true sources of wealth; and the means of distributing it, in a due proportion, among all the members of the body politic. It is not any specific quantity of money, but the due distribution of it, that renders that body healthy and vigorous in all its parts. Idleness is the bane of society; the great source of vice and confusion; the fore-runner of public distress and calamity. Industry produces the contrary effects; and is to be promoted by all possible methods: These are various; they are chiefly good laws, speedily, righteously, and cheaply executed; wise regulations of commerce, as well internal as foreign; good examples; a watchful care in the magistrates, to suppress in the first instances, vice, sloth, and all kinds of immoralities; a due care of the indigent and feeble, that none perish from want, when there is more than sufficient for all; the securing of private property; a due disdain of all chicanery, quibbling and sophistry, more especially, in schools and courts of justice; ability, uprightness and dispatch in public offices; the countenancing of probity, of plain dealing, of arts and sciences; and in all cases, an inviolable maintenance of public faith. These, are some of the ways, to breed and cherish a public spirit, among all ranks of people; without which, no nation can be happy; no community can long subsist.
A nation skilful in arts, abounding in products, untainted in its morals; where public spirit prevails, above local and personal interests; and under a wise and righteous government, duly tempered, so as to be secure itself, and all under it secure; a nation, I say, under these circumstances, must needs within itself, be rich, flourishing and happy. But power, grandeur, and influence abroad, depend chiefly on the numbers of industrious inhabitants at home. A limited number, cannot acquire above a limited degree of wealth, or strength: The way to increase both, is to break down the barricadoes of local enfranchisements; to encourage matrimony among the lower class, by giving some privileges to those who have children; finding employments for those who are able; and supplying with necessaries, the helpless and indigent. Moreover, if you please, you may invite hither foreign Protestants; by giving the privileges of free denisons, to all that are desirous of incorporating themselves under the banner of our laws, and enjoying the benefits of our happy constitution. But some better regulations should be made with regard to our own poor, before strangers can be induced to come among us.
[* ]The balance spring in a good watch is worth above a million of times the value of the steel.
[* ]This shews the great value of arts and industry. But their usefulness doth not terminate in the mere value of their productions; their benign influence extends much farther. By furnishing employment, at the same time, both to the mind and body; they tend to improve the understanding, to humanise mankind, and to preserve them from that brutal barbarism, which is ever the attendant of stupid indolence and inactivity. Each individual, by a laudable industry, striving to benefit himself; the whole community share the fruits, and peace and good order is every where maintained.
[* ]Things are also said to be cheap or dear, in respect to the prices they bore at some former market.
[* ]Lands yielding uncommon products, as mines, &c. are not here considered; the uncommonness of them gives an opportunity to the owners of making more than ordinary profit by such products.
[* ]Great care should be taken that all charitable contributions are duly applied to their proper objects, and are not embezzled or wantonly squandered.
[* ]The mutual conveniencies accruing to individuals, from their betaking themselves to particular occupations, is perhaps the chief cement that connects them together; the main source of commerce, and of large political communities.
[† ]The name of Newton, to omit many others of great eminence in different kinds of knowledge, will do honour to this nation, whilst men continue civilized, and preserve the sciences among them. We have lately lost a mechanic, whose assistance on many occasions was eagerly courted, even by our vain and rival neighbours; a man well known, and, being known, admired, in all the principal courts, and learned academies of Europe. I need not say that I here mean the late George Graham, whose eminent skill in mechanics, by which he was known to the world, was yet known to his friends to have been but a small part of his merit. We have yet several artists who excel in their respective professions, all that went before them. What Mr. Harrison hath done about clocks, is truly admirable; and mathematical instruments were never made so perfect and exact, as they have been and still are by Mr. Bird: These men stand unrivalled. I have many more very excellent artists in my eye, but I forbear naming any, lest I should do injustice to others who might have an equal share of merit.
[* ]When our great load of taxes, reaching down to the meanest artificer, is considered; it would seem that labour is cheaper in England than in other countries; that is, that our artificers are more skilful, and produce more and better goods in a given time, than is usually done elsewhere: For, in comparing the price of labour, the mere consumptions or earnings of the labourers, are not alone sufficient; what their labour produces, must also be taken into the account. Without supposing that labour, in effect, is really cheap with us, it would be difficult to account how such large quantities of our artificial products could be vended abroad. But how long this supposed superiority of our workmen, can be able to balance our other disadvantages, deserves seriously to be considered.
[* ]Agreeable to this is the old adage, “Jack-of-all-trades will never be rich.” And those smattering geniuses who will be meddling in various arts, rather than employ others in their proper callings, are but poor œconomists, as well as bad neighbours.
[* ]This would be no less than the taking a general view of the whole political œconomy of established communities; it would be shewing how the several parts are necessarily connected, mutually dependent on and subservient to each other, and to the whole: Such a work might be of singular use to the statesman, by pointing out to him, what parts are growing too luxuriant, and what parts want further nourishment and countenance; and perhaps, in the whole system of politics, if the whole doth not ultimately terminate there, no part is of that importance as the preserving of a due order in all things at home.
[* ]Besides having of our own growth, plenty of all sorts of provisions, materials for buildings, apparel, &c. we have also lead, tin, copper, iron, calamy, coal, culm, allom, copperas, fullers earth, and sundry other minerals; some of which are in a manner the peculiar growth of this country, and very desirable abroad: But I do not recollect to have heard, that France yields any one natural product wanted by us.
[† ]This advantage is, in many other respects, much overbalanced by the milder and more temperate frame of our government.
[‡ ]The freedom of this nation, is the true parent of its grandeur: If ever it becomes enslaved, its august and mighty monarch, will dwindle into an inconsiderable and petty tyrant.