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[I.x.c] part ii: Inequalities occasioned by the Policy of Europe - Adam Smith, Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence Vol. 2a An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Vol. 1 
An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Vol. I ed. R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner, vol. II of the Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1981).
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Inequalities occasioned by the Policy of Europe
1Such are the inequalities in the whole of the advantages and disadvantages of the different employments of labour and stock, which the defect of any of the three requisites above–mentioned must occasion, even where there is the most perfect liberty. But the policy of Europe, by not leaving things at perfect liberty, occasions other inequalities of much greater importance.
2It does this chiefly in the three following ways. First, by restraining the competition in some employments to a smaller number than would otherwise be disposed to enter into them; secondly, by increasing it in others beyond what it naturally would be; and, thirdly, by obstructing the free circulation of labour and stock, both from employment to employment and from place to place.1
3First, The policy of Europe occasions a very important inequality in the whole of the advantages and disadvantages of the different employments of labour and stock, by restraining the competition in some employments to a smaller number than might otherwise be disposed to enter into them.
4The exclusive privileges of corporations are the principal means it makes use of for this purpose.2
5The exclusive privilege of an incorporated trade necessarily restrains the competition, in the town where it is established, to those who are free of the trade. To have served an apprenticeship in the town, under a master properly qualified, is commonly the necessary requisite for obtaining this freedom. The bye–laws of the corporation regulate sometimes the number of apprentices which any master is allowed to have, and almost always the number of years which each apprentice is obliged to serve. The intention of both regulations is to restrain the competition to a much smaller number than might otherwise be disposed to enter into the trade. The limitation of the number of apprentices restrains it directly. A long term of apprenticeship restrains it more indirectly, but as effectually, by increasing the expence of education.3
6In Sheffield no master cutler can have more than one apprentice at a time, by a bye–law of the corporation. In Norfolk and Norwich no master weaver can have more than two apprentices, under pain of forfeiting five pounds a month to the king.4 No master hatter can have more than two apprentices any–where in England, or in the English plantations, under pain of forfeiting five pounds a month, half to the king, and half to him who shall sue in any court of record.5 Both these regulations, though they have been confirmed by a publick law of the kingdom, are evidently dictated by the same corporation spirit which enacted the bye–law of Sheffield. The silk weavers in London had scarce been incorporated a year when they enacted a bye–law, restraining any master from having more than two apprentices at a time. It required a particular act of parliament to rescind this bye–law.6
7Seven years seem antiently to have been, all over Europe, the usual term established for the duration of apprenticeships in the greater part of incorporated trades. All such incorporations were antiently called universities; which indeed is the proper Latin name for any incorporation whatever. The university of smiths, the university of taylors, &c. are expressions which we commonly meet with in the old charters of antient towns.7 When those particular incorporations which are now peculiarly called universities were first established, the term of years which it was necessary to study, in order to obtain the degree of master of arts, appears evidently to have been copied from the term of apprenticeship in common trades, of which the incorporations were much more antient. As to have wrought seven years under a master properly qualified, was necessary, in order to intitle any person to become a master, and to have himself apprentices in a common trade; so to have studied seven years under a master properly qualified, was necessary to entitle him to become a master, teacher, or doctor (words antiently synonimous) in the liberal arts, and to have scholars or apprentices (words likewise originally synonimous) to study under him.8
8By the 5th of Elizabeth, commonly called the Statute of Apprenticeship,9 it was enacted, that no person should for the future exercise any trade, craft, or mystery at that time exercised in England, unless he had previously served to it an apprenticeship of seven years at least; and what before had been the bye–law of many particular corporations, became in England the general and publick law of all trades carried on in market towns. For though the words of the statute are very general, and seem plainly to include the whole kingdom, by interpretation its operation has been limited to market towns, it having been held that in country villages a person may exercise several different trades, though he has not served a seven years apprenticeship to each, they being necessary for the conveniency of the inhabitants, and the number of people frequently not being sufficient to supply each with a particular sett of hands.10
9By a strict interpretation of the words too the operation of this statute has been limited to those trades which were established in England before the 5th of Elizabeth, and has never been extended to such as have been introduced since that time.11 This limitation has given occasion to several distinctions which, considered as rules of police, appear as foolish as can well be imagined. It has been adjudged, for example, that a coach–maker can neither himself make nor employ journeymen to make his coach–wheels, but must buy them of a master wheel–wright; this latter trade having been exercised in England before the 5th of Elizabeth. But a wheel–wright, though he has never served an apprenticeship to a coach–maker, may either himself make or employ journeymen to make coaches; the trade of a coach–maker not being within the statute, because not exercised in England at the time when it was made. The manufactures of Manchester, Birmingham, and Wolverhampton, are many of them, upon this account, not within the statute; not having been exercised in England before the 5th of Elizabeth.12
10In France, the duration of apprenticeships is different in different towns and in different trades. In Paris, five years is the term required in a great number; but before any person can be qualified to exercise the trade as a master, he must, in many of them, serve five years more as a journeyman. During this latter term he is called the companion of his master, and the term itself is called his companionship.13
11In Scotland there is no general law which regulates universally the duration of apprenticeships. The term is different in different corporations. Where it is long, a part of it may generally be redeemed by paying a small fine. In most towns too a very small fine is sufficient to purchase the freedom of any corporation. The weavers of linen and hempen cloth, the principal manufactures of the country, as well as all other artificers subservient to them, wheel–makers, reel–makers, &c. may exercise their trades in any town corporate without paying any fine. In all towns corporate all persons are free to sell butcher’s–meat upon any lawful day of the week. Three years is in Scotland a common term of apprenticeship, even in some very nice trades; and in general I know of no country in Europe in which corporation laws are so little oppressive.14
12The property which every man has in his own labour, as it is the original foundation of all other property, so it is the most sacred and inviolable. The patrimony of a poor man lies in the strength and dexterity of his hands; and to hinder him from employing this strength and dexterity in what manner he thinks proper without injury to his neighbour, is a plain violation of this most sacred property. It is a manifest encroachment upon the just liberty both of the workman, and of those who might be disposed to employ him. As it hinders the one from working at what he thinks proper, so it hinders the aothersa from employing whom they think proper. To judge whether he is fit to be employed, may surely be trusted to the discretion of the employers whose interest it so much concerns. The affected anxiety of the law–giver lest they should employ an improper person, is evidently as impertinent as it is oppressive.
13The institution of long apprenticeships can give no security that insufficient workmanship shall not frequently be exposed to publick sale. When this is done it is generally the effect of fraud, and not of inability; and the longest apprenticeship can give no security against fraud. Quite different regulations are necessary to prevent this abuse. The sterling mark upon plate,15 and the stamps upon linen16 and woollen cloth,17 give the purchaser much greater security than any statute of apprenticeship.18 He generally looks at these, but never thinks it worth while to enquire whether the bworkmanb had served a seven years apprenticeship.
14The institution of long apprenticeships has no tendency to form young people to industry. A journeyman who works by the piece is likely to be industrious, because he derives a benefit from every exertion of his industry.19 An apprentice is likely to be idle, and almost always is so, because he has no immediate interest to be otherwise.20 In the inferior employments, the sweets of labour consist altogether in the recompence of labour. They who are soonest in a condition to enjoy the sweets of it, are likely soonest to conceive a relish for it, and to acquire the early habit of industry. A young man naturally conceives an aversion to labour, when for a long time he receives no benefit from it. The boys who are put out apprentices from publick charities are generally bound for more than the usual number of years, and they generally turn out very idle and worthless.
15Apprenticeships were altogether unknown to the antients. The reciprocal duties of master and apprentice make a considerable article in every modern code. The Roman law is perfectly silent with regard to them. I know no Greek or Latin word (I might venture, I believe, to assert that there is none) which expresses the idea we now annex to the word Apprentice, a servant bound to work at a particular trade for the benefit of a master, during a term of years, upon condition that the master shall teach him that trade.
16Long apprenticeships are altogether unnecessary. The arts, which are much superior to common trades, such as those of making clocks and watches, contain no such mystery as to require a long course of instruction.21 The first invention of such beautiful machines, indeed, and even that of some of the instruments employed in making them, must, no doubt, have been the work of deep thought and long time, and may justly be considered as among the happiest efforts of human ingenuity. But when both have been fairly invented and are well understood, to explain to any young man, in the compleatest manner, how to apply the instruments and how to construct the machines, cannot well require more than the lessons of a few weeks: perhaps those of a few days might be sufficient. In the common mechanick trades, those of a few days might certainly be sufficient. The dexterity of hand, indeed, even in common trades, cannot be acquired without much practice and experience. But a young man would practise with much more diligence and attention, if from the beginning he wrought as a journeyman, being paid in proportion to the little work which he could execute, and paying in his turn for the materials which he might sometimes spoil through awkwardness and inexperience. His education would generally in this way be more effectual, and always less tedious and expensive. The master, indeed, would be a loser. He would lose all the wages of the apprentice, which he now saves, for seven years together. In the end, perhaps, the apprentice himself would be a loser. In a trade so easily learnt he would have more competitors, and his wages, when he came to be a compleat workman, would be much less than at present. The same increase of competition would reduce the profits of the masters as well as the wages of the workmen. The trades, the crafts, the mysteries, would all be losers. But the publick would be a gainer, the work of all artificers coming in this way much cheaper to market.
17It is to prevent this reduction of price, and consequently of wages and profit, by restraining that free competition which would most certainly ocasion it, that all corporations, and the greater part of corporation laws, have been established. In order to erect a corporation, no other authority in antient times was requisite in many parts of Europe, but that of the town corporate in which it was established.22 In England, indeed, a charter from the king was likewise necessary. But this prerogative of the crown seems to have been reserved rather for extorting money from the subject, than for the defence of the common liberty against such oppressive monopolies. Upon paying a fine to the king, the charter seems generally to have Cf. LJ (A) vi.61: been readily granted; and when any particular class of artificers or traders thought proper to act as a corporation without a charter, such adulterine guilds, as they were called, were not always disfranchised upon that account, but obliged to fine annually to the king for permission to exercise their usurped privileges* . The immediate inspection of all corporations, and of the bye–laws which they might think proper to enact for their own government, belonged to the town corporate in which they were established; and whatever discipline was exercised over them, proceeded commonly, not from the king, but from that greater incorporation of which those subordinate ones were only parts or members.
18The government of towns corporate was altogether in the hands of traders and artificers; and it was the manifest interest of every particular class of them, to prevent the market from being over–stocked, as they commonly express it, with their own particular species of industry; which is in reality to keep it always under–stocked. Each class was eager to establish regulations proper for this purpose, and, provided it was allowed to do so, was willing to consent that every other class should do the same. In consequence of such regulations, indeed, each class was obliged to buy the goods they had occasion for from every other within the town, somewhat dearer than they otherwise might have done. But in recompence, they were enabled to sell their own just as much dearer; so that so far it was as broad as long, as they say; and in the dealings of the different classes within the town with one another, none of them were losers by these regulations. But in their dealings with the country they were all great gainers; and in these latter dealings consists the whole trade which supports and enriches every town.
19Every town draws its whole subsistence, and all the materials of its industry, from the country.23 It pays for these chiefly in two ways: first, by sending back to the country a part of those materials wrought up and manufactured; in which case their price is augmented by the wages of the workmen, and the profits of their masters or immediate employers: secondly, by sending to it a part both of the rude and manufactured produce, either of other countries, or of distant parts of the same country, imported into the town; in which case too the original price of those goods is augmented by the wages of the carriers or sailors, and by the profits of the merchants who employ them. In what is gained upon the first of those two branches of commerce, consists the advantage which the town makes by its manufactures; in what is gained upon the second, the advantage of its inland and foreign trade. The wages of the workmen, and the profits of their different employers, make up the whole of what is gained upon both. Whatever regulations, therefore, tend to increase those wages and profits beyond what they otherwise would be, tend to enable the town to purchase, with a smaller quantity of its labour, the produce of a greater quantity of the labour of the country. They give the traders and artificers in the town an advantage over the landlords, farmers, and labourers in the country, and break down that natural equality which would otherwise take place in the commerce which is carried on between them. The whole annual produce of the labour of the society is annually divided between those two different sets of people. By means of those regulations a greater share of it is given to the inhabitants of the town than would otherwise fall to them; and a less to those of the country.
20The price which the town really pays for the provisions and materials annually imported into it, is the quantity of manufactures and other goods annually exported from it. The dearer the latter are sold, the cheaper the former are bought. The industry of the town becomes more, and that of the country less advantageous.
21That the industry which is carried on in towns is, every–where in Europe, more advantageous than that which is carried on in the country, without entering into any very nice computations, we may satisfy ourselves by one very simple and obvious observation. In every country of Europe we find, at least, a hundred people who have acquired great fortunes from small beginnings by trade and manufactures, the industry which properly belongs to towns, for one who has done so by that which properly belongs to the country, the raising of rude produce by the improvement and cultivation of land.24 Industry, therefore, must be better rewarded, the wages of labour and the profits of stock must evidently be greater in the one situation than in the other. But stock and labour naturally seek the most advantageous employment. They naturally, therefore, resort as much as they can to the town, and desert the country.
22The inhabitants of a town, being collected into one place, can easily combine together. The most insignificant trades carried on in towns have accordingly, in some place or other, been incorporated; and even where they have never been incorporated, yet the corporation spirit, the jealousy of strangers, the aversion to take apprentices, or to communicate the secret of their trade, generally prevail in them, and often teach them, by voluntary associations and agreements, to prevent that free competition which they cannot prohibit by bye–laws. The trades which employ but a small number of hands, run most easily into such combinations. Half a dozen wool–combers, perhaps, are necessary to keep a thousand spinners and weavers at work. By combining not to take apprentices they can not only engross the employment, but reduce the whole manufacture into a sort of slavery to themselves, and raise the price of their labour much above what is due to the nature of their work.
23 The inhabitants of the country, dispersed in distant places, cannot easily combine together.25 They have not only never been incorporated, but the corporation spirit never has prevailed among them. No apprenticeship has ever been thought necessary to qualify for husbandry, the great trade of the country. After what are called the fine arts, and the liberal professions, however, there is perhaps no trade which requires so great a variety of knowledge and experience.26 The innumerable volumes which have been written upon it in all languages, may satisfy us, that among the wisest and most learned nations, it has never been regarded as a matter very easily understood. And from all those volumes we shall in vain attempt to collect that knowledge of its various and complicated operations, which is commonly possessed even by the common farmer; how contemptuously soever the very contemptible authors of some of them may sometimes affect to speak of him. There is scarce any common mechanick trade, on the contrary, of which all the operations may not be as compleatly and distinctly explained in a pamphlet of a very few pages, as it is possible for words illustrated by figures to explain them. In the history of the arts, now publishing by the French academy of sciences,27 several of them are actually explained in this manner. The direction of operations, besides, which must be varied with every change of the weather, as well as with many other accidents, requires much more judgment and discretion, than that of those which are always the same or very nearly the same.
24Not only the art of the farmer, the general direction of the operations of husbandry, but many inferior branches of country labour require much more skill and experience than the greater part of mechanick trades. The man who works upon brass and iron, works with instruments and upon materials of which the temper is always the same, or very nearly the same. But the man who ploughs the ground with a team of horses or oxen, works with instruments of which the health, strength, and temper are very different upon different occasions. The condition of the materials which he works upon too is as variable as that of the instruments which he works with, and both require to be managed with much judgment and discretion. The common ploughman, though generally regarded as the pattern of stupidity and ignorance, is seldom defective in this judgment and discretion. He is less accustomed, indeed, to social intercourse than the mechanick who lives in a town. His voice and language are more uncouth and more difficult to be understood by those who are not used to them. His understanding, however, being accustomed to consider a greater variety of objects, is generally much superior to that of the other, whose whole attention from morning till night is commonly occupied in performing one or two very simple operations.28 How much the lower ranks of people in the country are really superior to those of the town, is well known to every man whom either business or curiosity has led to converse much with both. In China and Indostan accordingly both the rank and the wages of country labourers are said to be superior to those of the greater part of artificers and manufacturers. They would probably be so every where, if corporation laws and the corporation spirit did not prevent it.
25The superiority which the industry of the towns has every where in Europe over that of the country, is not altogether owing to corporations and corporation laws. It is supported by many other regulations. The high duties upon foreign manufactures and upon all goods imported by alien merchants, all tend to the same purpose.29 Corporation laws enable the inhabitants of towns to raise their prices, without fearing to be under–sold by the dfreed competition of their own countrymen. Those other regulations secure them equally against that of foreigners. The enhancement of price occasioned by both is every where finally paid by the landlords, farmers, and labourers of the country, who have seldom opposed the establishment of such monopolies. They have commonly neither inclination nor fitness to enter into combinations; and the clamour and sophistry of merchants and manufacturers easily persuade them that the private interest of a part, and of a subordinate part of the society, is the general interest of the whole.
26In Great Britain the superiority of the industry of the towns over that of the country, seems to have been greater formerly than in the present times. The wages of country labour approach nearer to those of manufacturing labour, and the profits of stock employed in agriculture to those of trading and manufacturing stock, than they are said to have done in the last century, or in the beginning of the present. This change may be regarded as the necessary, though very late consequence of the extraordinary encouragement given to the industry of the towns. The stock accumulated in them comes in time to be so great, that it can no longer be employed with the antient profit in that species of industry which is peculiar to them. That industry has its limits like every other; and the increase of stock, by increasing the competition, necessarily reduces the profit.30 The lowering of profit in the town forces out stock to the country, where, by creating a new demand for country labour, it necessarily raises its wages. It then spreads itself, if I may say so, over the face of the land, and by being employed in agriculture is in part restored to the country, at the expence of which, in a great measure, it had originally been accumulated in the town. That every where in Europe the greatest improvements of the country have been owing to such overflowings of the stock originally accumulated in the towns, I shall endeavour to show hereafter;31 and at the same time to demonstrate, that though some countries have by this course attained to a considerable degree of opulence, it is in itself necessarily slow, uncertain, liable to be disturbed and interrupted by innumerable accidents, and in every respect contrary to the order of nature and of reason. The interests, prejudices, laws and customs which have given occasion to it, I shall endeavour to explain as fully and distinctly as I can in the third and fourth books of this enquiry.
27People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the publick, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary.
28A regulation which obliges all those of the same trade in a particular town to enter their names and places of abode in a publick register, facilitates such assemblies. It connects individuals who might never otherwise be known to one another, and gives every man of the trade a direction where to find every other man of it.
29A regulation which enables those of the same trade to tax themselves in order to provide for their poor, their sick, their widows and orphans, by giving them a common interest to manage, renders such assemblies necessary.
30An incorporation not only renders them necessary, but makes the act of the majority binding upon the whole. In a free trade an effectual combination cannot be established but by the unanimous consent of every single etradere and it cannot last longer than every single ftraderf continues of the same mind. The majority of a corporation can enact a bye–law with proper penalties, which will limit the competition more effectually and more durably than any voluntary combination whatever.
31The pretence that corporations are necessary for the better government of the trade, is without any foundation. The real and effectual discipline which is exercised over a workman, is not that of his corporation, but that of his customers. It is the fear of losing their employment which restrains his frauds and corrects his negligence. An exclusive corporation necessarily weakens the force of this discipline. A particular set of workmen must then be employed, let them behave well or ill. It is upon this account that in many large incorporated towns no tolerable workmen are to be found, even in some of the most necessary trades. If you would have your work tolerably executed, it must be done in the suburbs, where the workmen having no exclusive privilege, have nothing but their character to depend upon, and you must then smuggle it into the town as well as you can.
32It is in this manner that the policy of Europe, by restraining the competition in some employments to a smaller number than would otherwise be disposed to enter into them, occasions a very important inequality in the whole of the advantages and disadvantages of the different employments of labour and stock.
33 Secondly, The policy of Europe, by increasing the competition in some employments beyond what it naturally would be, occasions another inequality of an opposite kind in the whole of the advantages and disadvantages of the different employments of labour and stock.
34It has been considered as of so much importance that a proper number of young people should be educated for certain professions, that, sometimes the publick, and sometimes the piety of private founders have established many pensions, scholarships, exhibitions, bursaries, &c.32 for this purpose, which draw many more people into those trades than could otherwise pretend to follow them. In all christian countries, I believe, the education of the greater part of churchmen is paid for in this manner. Very few of them are educated altogether at their own expence. The long, tedious and expensive education, therefore, of those who are, will not always procure them a suitable reward, the church being crowded with people who, in order to get employment, are willing to accept of a much smaller recompence than what such an education would otherwise have entitled them to; and in this manner the competition of the poor takes away the reward of the rich. It would be indecent, no doubt, to compare either a curate or a chaplain with a journeyman in any common trade. The pay of a curate or chaplain, however, may very properly be considered as of the same nature with the wages of a journeyman. They are, all three, paid for their work according to the contract which they may happen to make with their respective superiors. Till after the middle of the fourteenth century, five merks, containing about as much silver as ten pounds of our present money, was in England the usual pay of a curate or g stipendiary parish priest, as we find it regulated by the decrees of several different national councils.33 At the same period four–pence a day, containing the same quantity of silver as a shilling of our present money, was declared to be the pay of a master mason, and three–pence a day, equal to nine–pence of our present money, that of a journeyman mason* . The wages of both these labourers, therefore, supposing them to have been constantly employed, were much superior to those of the curate. The wages of the master mason, supposing him to have been without employment one–third of the year, would have fully equalled them. By the 12th of Queen Anne, c.12,34 it is declared, “That whereas for want of sufficient maintenance and encouragement to curates, the cures have in several places been meanly supplied, the bishop is, therefore, empowered to appoint by writing under his hand and seal a sufficient certain stipend or allowance, not exceeding fifty and not less than twenty pounds a year”. Forty pounds a year is reckoned at present very good pay for a curate, and notwithstanding this act of parliament, there are many curacies under twenty pounds a year. There are journeymen shoemakers in London who earn forty pounds a year, and there is scarce an industrious workman of any kind in that metropolis who does not earn more than twenty. This last sum indeed does not exceed what is frequently earned by common labourers in many country parishes. Whenever the law has attempted to regulate the wages of workmen, it has always been rather to lower them than to raise them.35 But the law has upon many occasions attempted to raise the wages of curates, and for the dignity of the church, to oblige the rectors of parishes to give them more than the wretched maintenance which they themselves might be willing to accept of. And in both cases the law seems to have been equally ineffectual, and has never either been able to raise the wages of curates or to sink those of labourers to the degree that was intended; because it has never been able to hinder either the one from being willing to accept of less than the legal allowance, on account of the indigence of their situation and the multitude of their competitors; or the other from receiving more, on account of the contrary competition of those who expected to derive either profit or pleasure from employing them.
35The great benefices and other ecclesiastical dignities support the honour of the church, notwithstanding the mean circumstances of some of its inferior members. The respect paid to the profession too makes some compensation even to them for the meanness of their pecuniary recompence. In England, and in all Roman Catholick countries, the lottery of the church is in reality much more advantageous than is necessary. The example of the churches of Scotland, of Geneva, and of several other protestant churches, may satisfy us that in so creditable a profession, in which education is so easily procured, the hopes of much more moderate benefices will draw a sufficient number of learned, decent, and respectable men into holy orders.
36In professions in which there are no benefices, such as law and physick, if an equal proportion of people were educated at the publick expence, the competition would soon be so great, as to sink very much their pecuniary reward. It might then not be worth any man’s while to educate his son to either of those professions at his own expence. They would be entirely abandoned to such as had been educated by those publick charities, whose numbers and necessities would oblige them in general to content themselves with a very miserable recompence, to the entire degradation of the now respectable professions of law and physick.
37That unprosperous race of men commonly called men of letters, are pretty much in the situation which lawyers and physicians probably would be in upon the foregoing supposition. In every part of Europe the greater part of them have been educated for the church, but have been hindered by different reasons from entering into holy orders.36 They have generally, therefore, been educated at the publick expence, and their numbers are every–where so great as commonly to reduce the price of their labour to a very paultry recompence.
38Before the invention of the art of printing, the only employment by which a man of letters could make any thing by his talents, was that of a publick ior privatei teacher, or by communicating to other people the curious and useful knowledge which he had acquired himself: And this is still surely a more honourable, a more useful, and in general even a more profitable employment than that other of writing for a bookseller, to which the art of printing has given occasion. The time and study, the genius, knowledge, and application requisite to qualify an eminent teacher of the sciences, are at least equal to what is necessary for the greatest practitioners in law and physick. But the usual reward of the eminent teacher bears no proportion to that of the lawyer or physician; because the trade of the one is crowded with indigent people who have been brought up to it at the publick expence; whereas those of the other two are incumbered with very few who have not been educated at their own. The usual recompence, however, of publick and private teachers, small as it may appear, would undoubtedly be less than it is, if the competition of those yet more indigent men of letters who write for bread was not taken out of the market.37 Before the invention of the art of printing, a scholar and a beggar seem to have been terms very nearly synonimous. The different governors of the universities before that time appear to have often granted licences to their scholars to beg.38
39In antient times, before any charities of this kind had been established for the education of indigent people to the learned professions, the rewards of eminent teachers appear to have been much more considerable. Isocrates, in what is called his discourse against the sophists, reproaches the teachers of his own times with inconsistency. “They make the most magnificent promises to their scholars”, says he, “and undertake to teach to be wise, to be happy, and to be just, and in return for so important a service they stipulate the paultry reward of four or five minae. They who teach wisdom”, continues he, “ought certainly to be wise themselves; but if any man jwasj to sell such a bargain for such a price, he would be convicted of the most evident folly.”39 He certainly does not mean here to exaggerate the reward, and we may be assured that it was not less than he represents it. Four minae were equal to thirteen pounds six shillings and eight pence: five minae to sixteen pounds thirteen shillings and four pence. Something not less than the largest of those two sums, therefore, must at that time have been usually paid to the most eminent teachers at Athens. Isocrates himself demanded ten minae, or thirty–three pounds six shillings and eight pence, from each scholar.40 When he taught at Athens, he is said to have had an hundred scholars. I understand this to be the number whom he taught at one time, or who attended what we would call one course of lectures, a number which will not appear extraordinary from so great a city to so famous a teacher, who taught too what was at that time the most fashionable of all sciences, rhetorick. He must have made, therefore, by each course of lectures, a thousand minae, or 3,333 l. 6s. 8d. A thousand minae, accordingly, is said by Plutarch in another place, to have been his Didactron, or usual price of teaching.41 Many other eminent teachers in those times appear to have acquired great fortunes. Gorgias made a present to the temple of Delphi of his own statue in solid gold.42 We must not, I presume, suppose that it was as large as the life. His way of living, as well as that of Hippias and Protagoras, two other eminent teachers of those times, is represented by Plato as splendid even to ostentation. Plato himself is said to have lived with a good deal of magnificence. Aristotle, after having been tutor to Alexander and most munificently rewarded,43 as it is universally agreed, both by him and his father Phillip, thought it worth while, notwithstanding, to return to Athens, in order to resume the teaching of his school. Teachers of the sciences were probably in those times less common than they came to be in an age or two afterwards, when the competition had probably somewhat reduced both the price of their labour and the admiration for their persons. The most eminent of them, however, appear always to have enjoyed a degree of consideration much superior to any of the like profession in the present times. The Athenians sent Carneades the academick, and Diogenes the stoick, upon a solemn embassy to Rome; and though their city had then declined from its former grandeur, it was still an independent and considerable republick. Carneades too was a Babylonian by birth, and as there never was a people more jealous of admitting foreigners to publick offices than the Athenians, their consideration for him must have been very great.44
40This inequality is upon the whole, perhaps, rather advantageous than hurtful to the publick. It may somewhat degrade the profession of a publick teacher; but the cheapness of literary education is surely an advantage which greatly over–balances this trifling inconveniency. The publick too might derive still greater benefit from it, if the constitution of those schools and colleges, in which education is carried on, was more reasonable than it is at present through the greater part of Europe.45
41Thirdly, The policy of Europe, by obstructing the free circulation of labour and stock both from employment to employment, and from place to place, occasions in some cases a very inconvenient inequality in the whole of the advantages and disadvantages of their different employments.
42The statute of apprenticeship obstructs the free circulation of labour from one employment to another, even in the same place.46 The exclusive privileges of corporations obstruct it from one place to another, even in the same employment.
43 It frequently happens that while high wages are given to the workmen in one manufacture, those in another are obliged to content themselves with bare subsistence. The one is in an advancing state, and has, therefore, a continual demand for new hands: The other is in a declining state, and the super–abundance of hands is continually increasing. Those two manufactures may sometimes be in the same town, and sometimes in the same neighbourhood, without being able to lend the least assistance to one another. The statute of apprenticeship may oppose it in the one case, and both that and an exclusive corporation in the other. In many different manufactures, however, the operations are so much alike, that the workmen could easily change trades with one another, if those absurd laws did not hinder them.47 The arts of weaving plain linen and plain silk, for example, are almost entirely the same. That of weaving plain woollen is somewhat different; but the difference is so insignificant, that either a linen or a silk weaver might become a tolerable workman in a kveryk few days.48 If any of those three capital manufactures, therefore, were decaying, the workmen might find a resource in one of the other two which was in a more prosperous condition; and their wages would neither rise too high in the thriving, nor sink too low in the decaying manufacture. The linen manufacture indeed is, in England, by a particular statute,49 open to every body; but, as it is not much cultivated through the greater part of the country, it can afford no general resource to the workmen of other decaying manufactures, who, wherever the statute of apprenticeship takes place, have no other choice but either to come upon the parish, or to work as common labourers, for which, by their habits, they are much worse qualified than for any sort of manufacture that bears any resemblance to their own. They generally, therefore, chuse to come upon the parish.
44Whatever obstructs the free circulation of labour from one employment to another, obstructs that of stock likewise; the quantity of stock which can be employed in any branch of business depending very much upon that of lthel labour which can be employed in it. Corporation laws, however, give less obstruction to the free circulation of stock from one place to another than to that of labour. It is every–where much easier for a wealthy merchant to obtain the privilege of trading in a town corporate, than for a poor artificer to obtain that of working in it.
45The obstruction which corporation laws give to the free circulation of labour is common, I believe, to every part of Europe. That which is given to it by the poor laws mis, so far as I know,m peculiar to England. It consists in the difficulty which a poor man finds in obtaining a settlement, or even in being allowed to exercise his industry in any parish but that to which he belongs. It is the labour of artificers and manufacturers only of which the free circulation is obstructed by corporation laws. The difficulty of obtaining settlements obstructs even that of common labour. It may be worth while to give some account of the rise, progress, and present state of this disorder, the greatest perhaps of any in the police of England.50
46When by the destruction of monasteries the poor had been deprived of the charity51 of those religious houses, after some other ineffectual attempts for their relief, it was enacted by the 43d of Elizabeth, c.2.52 that every parish should be bound to provide for its own poor; and that overseers of the poor should be annually appointed, who, with the churchwardens, should raise by a parish rate, competent sums for this purpose.
47By this statute the necessity of providing for their own poor was indispensably imposed upon every parish. Who were to be considered as the poor of each parish, nbecame, therefore,n a question of some importance. This question, after some variation, was at last determined by the 13th and 14th of Charles II.53 when it was enacted, that forty days undisturbed residence should gain any person a settlement in any parish; but that within that time it should be lawful for two justices of the peace, upon complaint made by the churchwardens or overseers of the poor, to remove any new inhabitant to the parish where he was last legally settled; unless he either rented a tenement of ten pounds a year, or could give such security for the discharge of the parish where he was then living, as those justices should judge sufficient.
48 Some frauds, it is said, were committed in consequence of this statute; parish officers sometimes bribing their own poor to go clandestinely to another parish, and by keeping themselves concealed for forty days to gain a settlement there, to the discharge of that to which they properly belonged. It was enacted, therefore, by the 1st of James II.54 that the forty days undisturbed residence of any person necessary to gain a settlement, should be accounted only from the time of his delivering notice in writing, of the place of his abode and the number of his family, to one of the churchwardens or overseers of the parish where he came to dwell.
49But parish officers, it seems, were not always more honest with regard to their own, than they had been with regard to other parishes, and sometimes connived at such intrusions, receiving the notice, and taking no proper steps in consequence of it. As every person in a parish, therefore, was supposed to have an interest to prevent as much as possible their being burdened by such intruders, it was further enacted by the 3d of William III.55 that the forty days residence should be accounted only from the publication of such notice in writing on Sunday in the church, immediately after divine service.
50“After all,” says Doctor Burn, “this kind of settlement, by continuing forty days after publication of notice in writing, is very seldom obtained; and the design of the acts is not so much for gaining of settlements, as for the avoiding of them, by persons coming into a parish clandestinely: for the giving of notice is only putting a force upon the parish to remove. But if a person’s situation is such, that it is doubtful whether he is actually removeable or not, he shall by giving of notice compel the parish either to allow him a settlement uncontested, by suffering him to continue forty days; or, by removing him, to try the right”.56
51This statute, therefore, rendered it almost impracticable for a poor man to gain a new settlement in the old way, by forty days inhabitancy. But that it might not appear to preclude altogether the common people of one parish from ever establishing themselves with security in another, it appointed four other ways by which a settlement might be gained without any notice delivered or published. The first was, by being taxed to parish rates and paying them; the second, by being elected into an annual parish office and serving in it a year; the third, by serving an apprenticeship in the parish; the fourth, by being hired into service there for a year, and continuing in the same service during the whole of it.57
52Nobody can gain a settlement by either of the two first ways, but by the publick deed of the whole parish, who are too well aware of the consequences to adopt any new–comer who has nothing but his labour to support him, either by taxing him to parish rates, or by electing him into a parish office.
53 No married man can well gain any settlement in either of the two last ways. An apprentice is scarce ever married; and it is expressly enacted, that no married servant shall gain any settlement by being hired for a year.58 The principal effect of introducing settlement by service, has been to put out in a great measure the old fashion of hiring for a year, which before had been so customary in England, that even at this day, if no particular term is agreed upon, the law intends that every servant is hired for a year. But masters are not always willing to give their servants a settlement by hiring them in this manner; and servants are not always willing to be so hired, because as every last settlement discharges all the foregoing, they might thereby lose their original settlement in the places of their nativity, the habitation of their parents and relations.
54No independent workman, it is evident, whether labourer or artificer, is likely to gain any new settlement either by apprenticeship or by service. When such a person, therefore, carried his industry to a new parish, he was liable to be removed, how healthy and industrious soever, at the caprice of any churchwarden or overseer, unless he either rented a tenement of ten pounds a year, a thing impossible for one who has nothing but his labour to live by; or could give such security for the discharge of the parish as two justices of the peace should judge sufficient. What security they shall require, indeed, is left altogether to their discretion; but they cannot well require less than thirty pounds, it having been enacted, that the purchase even of a free–hold estate of less than thirty pounds value, shall not gain any person a settlement, as not being sufficient for the discharge of the parish.59 But this is a security which scarce any man who lives by labour can give; and much greater security is frequently demanded.
55In order to restore in some measure that free circulation of labour which those different statutes had almost entirely taken away, the invention of certificates was fallen upon. By the 8th and 9th of William III.60 it was enacted, that if any person should bring a certificate from the parish where he was last legally settled, subscribed by the churchwardens and overseers of the poor, and allowed by two justices of the peace, that every other parish should be obliged to receive him; that he should not be removeable merely upon account of his being likely to become chargeable, but only upon his becoming actually chargeable, and that then the parish which granted the certificate should be obliged to pay the expence both of his maintenance and of his removal. And in order to give the most perfect security to the parish where such certificated man should come to reside, it was further enacted by the same statute,61 that he should gain no settlement there by any means whatever, except either by renting a tenement of ten pounds a year, or by serving upon his own account in an annual parish office for one whole year; and consequently neither by notice, nor by service, nor by apprenticeship, nor by paying parish rates. By the 12th of Queen Anne too, stat. I. c. 18.62 it was further enacted, that neither the servants nor apprentices of such certificated man should gain any settlement in the parish where he resided under such certificate.
56How far this invention has restored that free circulation of labour which the preceding statutes had almost entirely taken away, we may learn from the following very judicious observation of Doctor Burn. “It is obvious,” says he, “that there are divers good reasons for requiring certificates with persons coming to settle in any place; namely, that persons residing under them can gain no settlement, neither by apprenticeship, nor by service, nor by giving notice, nor by paying parish rates; that they can settle neither apprentices nor servants; that if they become chargeable, it is certainly known whither to remove them, and the parish shall be paid for the removal, and for their maintenance in the mean time; and that if they fall sick, and cannot be removed, the parish which gave the certificate must maintain them: none of all which can be without a certificate. Which reasons will hold proportionably for parishes not granting certificates in ordinary cases; for it is far more than an equal chance, but that they will have the certificated persons again, and in a worse condition”.63 The moral of this observation seems to be, that certificates ought always to be required by the parish where any poor man comes to reside, and that they ought very seldom to be granted by that which he proposes to leave. “There is somewhat of hardship in this matter of certificates” says the same very intelligent author in his History of the Poor Laws, “by putting it in the power of a parish officer, to imprison a man as it were for life; however inconvenient it may be for him to continue at that place where he has had the misfortune to acquire what is called a settlement, or whatever advantage he may propose to himself by living elsewhere”.64
57Though a certificate carries along with it no testimonial of good behaviour, and certifies nothing but that the person belongs to the parish to which he really does belong, it is altogether discretionary in the parish officers either to grant or to refuse it. A mandamus was once moved for, says Doctor Burn, to compel the church–wardens and overseers to sign a certificate; but the court of King’s Bench rejected the motion as a very strange attempt.65
58The very unequal price of labour which we frequently find in England in places at no great distance from one another, is probably owing to the obstruction which the law of settlements gives to a poor man who would carry his industry from one parish to another without a certificate.66 A single man, indeed, who is healthy and industrious, may sometimes reside by sufferance without one; but a man with a wife and family who should attempt to do so, would in most parishes be sure of being removed, and if the single man should afterwards marry, he would generally be removed likewise. The scarcity of hands in one parish, therefore, cannot always be relieved by their super–abundance in another, as it is constantly in Scotland,67 and, I believe, in all other countries where there is no difficulty of settlement. In such countries, though wages may sometimes rise a little in the neighbourhood of a great town, or wherever else there is an extraordinary demand for labour, and sink gradually as the distance from such places increases, till they fall back to the common rate of the country; yet we never meet with those sudden and unaccountable differences in the wages of neighbouring places which we sometimes find in England, where it is often more difficult for a poor man to pass the artificial boundary of a parish, than an arm of the sea or a ridge of high mountains, natural boundaries which sometimes separate very distinctly different rates of wages in other countries.
59To remove a man who has committed no misdemeanour from the parish where he chuses to reside, is an evident violation of natural liberty and justice. The common people of England, however, so jealous of their liberty, but like the common people of most other countries never rightly understanding wherein it consists, have now for more than a century together suffered themselves to be exposed to this oppression without a remedy. Though men of reflection too have sometimes complained of the law of settlements as a publick grievance; yet it has never been the object of any general popular clamour, such as that against general warrants, an abusive practice undoubtedly, but such a one as was not likely to occasion any general oppression. There is scarce a poor man in England of forty years of age, I will venture to say, who has not in some part of his life felt himself most cruelly oppressed by this ill–contrived law of settlements.
60I shall conclude this long chapter with observing,68 that though antiently it was usual to rate wages, first by general laws extending over the whole kingdom, and afterwards by particular orders of the justices of peace in every particular county, both these practices have now gone entirely into disuse. “By the experience of above four hundred years,” says Doctor Burn, “it seems time to lay aside all endeavours to bring under strict regulations, what in its own nature seems incapable of minute limitation: for if all persons in the same kind of work were to receive equal wages, there would be no emulation, and no room left for industry or ingenuity”.69
61Particular acts of parliament, however, still attempt sometimes to regulate wages in particular trades and in particular places. Thus the 8th of George III.70 prohibits under heavy penalties all master taylors in London, and five miles round it, from giving, and their workmen from accepting, more than two shillings and seven–pence halfpenny a day, except in the case of a general mourning.71 Whenever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and their workmen, its counsellors are always the masters.72 When the regulation, therefore, is in favour of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favour of the masters. Thus the law which obliges the masters in several different trades to pay their workmen in money and not in goods, is quite just and equitable. It imposes no real hardship upon the masters. It only obliges them to pay that value in money, which they pretended to pay, but did not always really pay, in goods.73 This law is in favour of the workmen; but the 8th of George III. is in favour of the masters.74 When masters combine together in order to reduce the wages of their workmen, they commonly enter into a private bond or agreement, not to give more than a certain wage under a certain penalty. Were the workmen to enter into a contrary combination of the same kind, not to accept of a certain wage under a certain penalty, the law would punish them very severely; and if it dealt impartially, it would treat the masters in the same manner. But the 8th of George III. enforces by law that very regulation which masters sometimes attempt to establish by such combinations. The complaint of the workmen, that it puts the ablest and most industrious upon the same footing with an ordinary workman, seems perfectly well founded.
62In antient times too it was usual to attempt to regulate the profits of merchants and other dealers, by rating the price both of provisions and other goods. The assize of bread is, so far as I know, the only remnant of this ancient usage.75 Where there is an exclusive corporation, it may perhaps be proper to regulate the price of the first necessary of life. But where there is none, the competition will regulate it much better than any assize. The method of fixing the assize of bread established by the 31st of George II.76 could not be put in practice in Scotland, on account of a defect in the law; its execution depending upon the office of clerk of the market, which does not exist there. This defect was not remedied till the 3d of George III.77 The want of an assize occasioned no sensible inconveniency, and the establishment of one, in the few places where it has yet taken place, has produced no sensible advantage. In the greater part of the towns of Scotland, however, there is an incorporation of bakers who claim exclusive privileges, though they are not very strictly guarded.
63The proportion between the different rates both of wages and profit in the different employments of labour and stock, seems not to be much affected, as has already been observed,78 by the riches or poverty, the advancing, stationary, or declining state of the society. Such revolutions in the publick welfare, though they affect the general rates both of wages and profit, must in the end affect them equally in all different employments. The proportion between them, therefore, must remain the same, and cannot well be altered, at least for any considerable time, by any such revolutions.
Of the Rent of Land
1Rent, considered as the price paid for the use of land, is naturally the highest which the tenant can afford to pay in the actual circumstances of the land. In adjusting the terms of the lease, the landlord endeavours to leave him no greater share of the produce than what is sufficient to keep up the stock from which he furnishes the seed, pays the labour, and purchases and maintains the cattle and other instruments of husbandry, together with the ordinary profits of farming stock in the neighbourhood.1 This is evidently the smallest share with which the tenant can content himself without being a loser, and the landlord seldom means to leave him any more. Whatever part of the produce, or, what is the same thing, whatever part of its price, is over and above this share, he naturally endeavours to reserve to himself as the rent of his land, which is evidently the highest the tenant can afford to pay in the actual circumstances of the land. Sometimes, indeed, the liberality, more frequently the ignorance, of the landlord,2 makes him accept of somewhat less than this portion; and sometimes too, though more rarely, the ignorance of the tenant makes him undertake to pay somewhat more, or to content himself with somewhat less than the ordinary profits of farming stock in the neighbourhood. This portion, however, may still be considered as the natural rent of land, or the rent for which it is naturally meant that land should for the most part be let.
2The rent of land, it may be thought, is frequently no more than a reasonable profit or interest for the stock laid out by the landlord upon its improvement. This, no doubt, may be partly the case upon some occasions; for it can scarce ever be more than partly the case.3 The landlord demands a rent even for unimproved land, and the supposed interest or profit upon the expence of improvement is generally an addition to this original rent. Those improvements, besides, are not always made by the stock of the landlord, but sometimes by that of the tenant. When the lease comes to be renewed, however, the landlord commonly demands the same augmentation of rent, as if they had been all made by his own.
3He sometimes demands rent for what is altogether incapable of human improvement. Kelp is a species of sea–weed, which, when burnt, yields an alkaline salt, useful for making glass, soap, and for several other purposes. It grows in several parts of Great Britain, particularly in Scotland, upon such rocks only as lie within the high water mark, which are twice every day covered with the sea, and of which the produce, therefore, was never augmented by human industry.4 The landlord, however, whose estate is bounded by a kelp shore of this kind, demands a rent for it as much as for his corn fields.5
4The sea in the neighbourhood of the islands of Shetland is more than commonly abundant in fish, which make a great part of the subsistence of their inhabitants. But in order to profit by the produce of the water, they must have a habitation upon the neighbouring land. The rent of the landlord is in proportion, not to what the farmer can make by the land, but to what he can make both by the land and abya the water. It is partly paid in sea–fish; and one of the very few instances in which rent makes a part of the price of that commodity, is to be found in that country.
5The rent of land, therefore, considered as the price paid for the use of the land, is naturally a monopoly price.6 It is not at all proportioned to what the landlord may have laid out upon the improvement of the land, or to what he can afford to take; but to what the farmer can afford to give.7
6Such parts only of the produce of land can commonly be brought to market of which the ordinary price is sufficient to replace the stock which must be employed in bringing them thither, together with its ordinary profits. If the ordinary price is more than this, the surplus part of it will naturally go to the rent of the land. If it is not more, though the commodity may be brought to market, it can afford no rent to the landlord. Whether the price is, or is not more, depends upon the demand.
7There are some parts of the produce of land for which the demand must always be such as to afford a greater price than what is sufficient to bring them to market; and there are others for which it either may or may not be such as to afford this greater price. The former must always afford a rent to the landlord. The latter sometimes may, and sometimes may not, according to different circumstances.8
8Rent, it is to be observed, therefore, enters into the composition of the price of commodities in a different way from wages and profit. High or low wages and profit, are the causes of high or low price; high or low rent is the effect of it.9 It is because high or low wages and profit must be paid, in order to bring a particular commodity to market, that its price is high or low. But it is because its price is high or low; a great deal more, or very little more, or no more, than what is sufficient to pay those wages and profit, that it affords a high rent, or a low rent, or no rent at all.
9The particular consideration, first, of those parts of the produce of land which always afford some rent; secondly, of those which sometimes may and sometimes may not afford rent; and, thirdly, of the variations which, in the different periods of improvement, naturally take place, in the relative value of those two different sorts of rude produce, when compared both with one another and with manufactured commodities, will divide this chapter into three parts.
[1 ]Smith comments at IV.viii.44 on the restrictions imposed on the movement of artificers between countries.
[2 ]At V.i.e.7 Smith maintains that regulated companies resemble ‘in every respect, the corporations of trades’.
[3 ]Smith called for the abolition of such privileges, including the law of settlements and the statute of apprenticeship, at IV.ii.42.
[4 ]Charles II, c.5 (1662) in Statutes of the Realm, v.370–4; 13 and 14 Charles II, c.5 in Ruffhead’s edition.
[5 ]8 Elizabeth I, c.11 (1566), further enforced by 1 James I, c.17 (1603), in Statutes of the Realm, iv(2) 1035; 2 (vulgo 1) James I, c.17 in Ruffhead’s edition and extended to the American colonies by 5 George II, c.22 (1731).
[6 ]19 and 20 Charles II, c.11 (1670) in Statutes of the Realm, v.640; 20 Charles II, c.6 in Ruffhead’s edition; s.3 states ‘no By–law already made or hereafter to be made by the said Company shall or may limit or confine any Freeman of the said Company to take a lesse number than three Apprentices at any time’.
[7 ]Thomas Madox, Firma Burgi (London, 1726), 32.
[8 ]In Letter 143 addressed to Cullen, dated 20 September 1774 Smith remarked that the Universities required 5 and 7 years for a Master of Arts, 11 and 16 for a Doctor of Law, Physic, or Divinity. He added that the real motive behind such long periods of study was commercial, and they were simply designed so that ‘the student may spend more money among them, and that they may make more profit by him’. See below, V.i.e.7, and V.i.f.11.
[9 ]5 Elizabeth I, c.4 (1562). See below, I.x.c.42.
[10 ]See above, I.iii.2.
[11 ]Discharged soldiers and sailors were allowed to exercise any trade even against 5 Elizabeth I, c.4 by 12 Charles II, c.16 (1660). Similar provisions were made by 12 Anne, c.14 (1712) in Statutes of the Realm, ix.791–3; 12 Anne, st.1, c.13 in Ruffhead’s edition, and by 3 George III, c.8 (1762). See below, IV.ii.42.
[12 ]A brief discussion of the legal and other qualifications in the operation of the Act is in J. H. Clapham A Concise Economic History of Britain (Cambridge, 1949), 256–7.
[13 ]‘Compagnon’ and ‘compagnonnage’.
[14 ]There were considerable local variations in Scotland, and the prescribed period of three years was not necessarily so general as Smith implies. I. F. Grant, Social and Economic Development of Scotland before 1603 (Edinburgh, 1930), 422–3. Miss Grant also holds that ‘the object of the craftsmen was rather to limit their privileges to those who were willing to pay for them than to exclude as many people as possible’ (420).
[15 ]28 Edward I, c.20 (1300).
[16 ]10 Anne, c.23 (1711) in Statutes of the Realm, ix.682–4; 10 Anne, c.21 in Ruffhead’s edition provided for the stamping of linen in Scotland. 13 George I, c.26 (1726) detailed the standard length and breadth of cloth.
[17 ]39 Elizabeth I, c.20 (1597), confirmed by 43 Elizabeth I, c.10 (1601). See above, I.iv.7.
[18 ]LJ (B) 306–7, ed. Cannan 236, comments that a seven–year apprenticeship was no security against bad cloth, and added that: ‘You yourself cannot inspect a large piece of cloth, this must be left to the stampmaster, whose credit must be depended upon.’
[19 ]Cantillon remarked, Essai, 52, ed. Higgs 41, that where piece rates are used, journeymen will ‘work for their own interest as hard as they can without further inspection’. See also Steuart, Principles, i.193, ed. Skinner, i.169. See above, I.viii.44, where payment by the piece is also discussed.
[20 ]See above, I.x.b.8, on the idleness of apprentices.
[21 ]Smith was rather more generous in LJ (B) 225, ed. Cannan 175:
[22 ]For the practice in Scotland see W. M. Mackenzie, The Scottish Burghs (Edinburgh, 1949), 117–19. A seal of cause from the burghs was treated as a charter of incorporation by the crafts.
[cc* ]See Madox Firma Burgi, p. 26, &c.c [‘Anciently, a Gild either Religious or Secular could not legally be set–up without the King’s Licence. If any Persons erected a Gild without warrant, that is, without the King’s Leave, it was a Trespass, and they were lyable to be punished for it.’ Madox, Firma Burgi, 26.]
[23 ]See below, I.xi.c.7, II.i.28, and III.i.1.
[24 ]It is pointed out at II.v.37 that agriculture in Europe was capable of absorbing a much greater capital.
[25 ]Cf. IV.ii.21, IV.v.b.4, IV.vii.b.24, IV.viii.34.
[26 ]The limitation on the division of labour in agriculture is discussed above, I.i.4.
[27 ]Descriptions des Arts et Métiers faites ou approuvées par Messieurs de l’Académie Royale des Sciences (1761–88).
[28 ]Cf. LJ (B) 328, ed. Cannan 255: ‘When the mind is employed about a variety of objects, it is somehow expanded and enlarged, and on this account a country artist is generally acknowledged to have a range of thoughts much above a city one.’ See below, V.i.f.50.
[29 ]The tax on alien merchants is mentioned below, IV.ii.30, IV.iii.c.10, and V.ii.k.21.
[30 ]See above, I.ix.2 and II.iv.8.
[31 ]See below, III.iv.
[e–e]member of it 1
[f–f]member of it 1
[32 ]See below, V.i.f.12.
[33 ]In 1378 the stipend of curates was raised from five marks to eight marks a year. The intention, according to Burn, was to give the curate ‘double of what would reasonably pay for his board’. R. Burn, Ecclesiastical Law (London, 1763), i.434.
[34 ]13 Anne, c.11 (1713) in Statutes of the Realm, ix.922; 12 Anne, st.2, c.12 in Ruffhead’s edition. The quotation which follows is not verbatim.
[35 ]Cf. I.viii.13.
[36 ]The Snell Exhibition, which enabled Smith to attend Balliol College, Oxford, between 1740 and 1746, included among its provisions the condition that the holder be bound, under penalty of £500, to enter orders of the Church of England ‘but in noe case to come back into England, nor to goe into any other place but onely into the Kingdome of Scotland for his or their preferrment’. From the will of John Snell in W.I. Addison, Snell Exhibitions (Glasgow, 1901), 199–200.
[37 ]In LJ (A) vi.67 Smith refers to the trade of a ‘hackney writer’ and states that an individual would not apply to this trade ‘unless he had a prospect of maintaining himself and recompensing the expense of education’.
[38 ]The practice was followed in Scotland. Cf. ‘All vagaboundis scollaris of the universiteis of Sanctandrois, Glasgow and Abirdene not licencit be the rector and dene of faculte of the universitie to ask almous . . . salbe takein, adjugeit, demed and puneist as strang beggaris and vagaboundis . . .’ (Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, iii.86–9, 1574).
[39 ]‘But these professors have gone so far in their lack of scruple that they attempt to persuade our young men that if they will only study under them they will know what to do in life and through this knowledge will become happy and prosperous. More than that, although they set themselves up as masters and dispensers of goods so precious, they are not ashamed of asking for them a price of three or four minae! Why, if they were to sell any other commodity for so trifling a fraction of its worth they would not deny their folly.’ (Isocrates, Against the Sophists, 3–4, translated by G. Norlin, Isocrates (Loeb Classical Library, 1929), ii.165; also mentioned in C. Arbuthnot, Table of Ancient Coins Weights and Measures (London, 1727), 198.)
[40 ]Plutarch, Demosthenes, v.4, translated by B. Perrin in Plutarch’s Lives (Loeb Classical Library, 1928), vii.13.
[41 ]Also quoted in C. Arbuthnot, Table of Ancient Coins, Weights and Measures, 198. For further comment on teaching in classical times see below V.i.g.40.
[42 ]‘The first solid gold statue of a human being was one of himself set up by Gorgias of Leontini in the temple at Delphi about the 70th Olympiad. So great were the profits to be made by teaching the art of oratory.’ (Pliny, Natural History, XXXIII, xxiv, translated by H. Rackham (Loeb Classical Library, 1952), ix.65.)
[43 ]Philip ‘sent for the most famous and learned of philosophers, Aristotle, and paid him a noble and appropriate tuition–fee’ (Plutarch, Alexander, vii.2, translated by B. Perrin in Plutarch’s Lives (Loeb Classical Library, 1928), vii.241).
[44 ]Carneades was a native of Cyrene; Diogenes was a Babylonian. Cf. LJ (B) 41, 86, ed. Cannan 28, 62. LJ (A) iv.92–3 points out that ‘the Athenians were very chary and scrupulous in admitting anyone into the freedom of their city.’ In contrast to the situation in Rome, ‘the citizenship of Athens was attended with some profit . . . and for that reason was a defalcation from the fortunes of the rest of the citizens, who would therefore never consent to the admission of new members.’ Cf. LJ (A) v.87–8. See below, IV.vii.c.77, where Smith discusses the problems faced by Rome after having adopted a less restrictive policy.
[45 ]This topic is examined at some length in V.i.f.
[46 ]In I.x.c.9 Smith recognised that the Statute of Apprenticeship could be circumvented, but J. H. Clapham has pointed out that it was more likely to be enforced if backed by the ‘coercive power of a company’ (Concise Economic History of Britain to 1750, 256).
[47 ]See below, IV.ii.42.
[48 ]In his essay ‘Of the Jealousy of Trade’ Hume made a similar point: ‘If the spirit of industry be preserved, it may easily be diverted from one branch to another; and the manufacturers of wool, for instance, be employed in linen, silk, iron, or any other commodities, for which there appears to be a demand.’ (Essays Moral, Political and Literary, ed. Green and Grose, i.347.)
[49 ]15 Charles II, c.15 (1663).
[m–m] so far as I know, is 1
[50 ]Even more than in his discussion of the Statute of Apprenticeship Smith concentrates on the statutory basis of the law of settlement and not on its operation. Interference with the mobility of labour was probably much less in practice than he believed. D. Marshall, ‘The Old Poor Law, 1662–1795’, Economic History Review, viii (1937), 1.
[51 ]See below, V.i.g.22, where Smith comments on the historical role of the clergy with regard to charity.
[52 ]43 Elizabeth I, c.2 (1601), An Act for the Relief of the Poor.
[n–n]therefore, became 1
[53 ]14 Charles II, c.12 (1662) in Statutes of the Realm, v. 401–5; 13 and 14 Charles II, c.12 in Ruffhead’s edition.
[54 ]1 James II, c.17 (1685).
[55 ]3 William and Mary, c.11, s.2. (1691).
[56 ]R. Burn, Justice of the Peace (London, 13th ed., 1776), iii.413.
[57 ]3 William and Mary, c.11, ss.5–7 (1691).
[58 ]3 William and Mary, c.11 does not expressly prohibit a married servant from gaining a settlement but confines settlement to the unmarried.
[59 ]9 George I, c.7, s.5 (1722).
[60 ]The original Act of Settlement of 1662 (14 Charles II, c.12; 13 and 14 Charles II, c.12 in Ruffhead’s edition) exempted harvest and other temporary workers from removal, if they produced certificates accepting liability from their parish of settlement. 8 and 9 William III, c.30 (1696) extended the provision. See 9 William III, c.11 (1697); 9 and 10 William III, c.11 in Ruffhead’s edition for details of the grounds on which settlement could be obtained.
[61 ]By 9 William III, c.11 (1697) in Statutes of the Realm, vii. 364–5; 9 and 10 William III c.11 in Ruffhead’s edition.
[62 ]12 Anne, c.18 (1712) in Statutes of the Realm, ix.796–7. 12 Anne, st.1, c.18 in Ruffhead’s edition.
[63 ]R. Burn, Justice of the Peace (1764), ii.274.
[64 ]R. Burn, History of the Poor , 235–6. The quotation is not quite verbatim.
[65 ]‘In the case of K. and St. Ives, H. 3 G. 2. a mandamus was moved for, to compel the churchwardens and overseers to sign a certificate; but the court rejected the motion as a very strange attempt.’ (R. Burn, Justice of the Peace, iii.310.)
[66 ]See above, I.viii.31.
[67 ]The evidence is scanty, but there is little reason to believe that wages were more uniform in Scotland than in England. See above, I.viii.33.
[68 ]A similar usage occurs below, I.xi.p.1.
[69 ]‘By the experience of above 400 years, it seems time to lay aside all endeavours to bring under strict regulations, what in its own nature seems incapable of minute limitation: As thereby it leaves no room for industry or ingenuity; for if all persons, in the same kind of work, were to receive equal wages, there would be no emulation’. (R. Burn, History of the Poor Laws, 130.)
[70 ]8 George III, c.17 (1768).
[71 ]See above, I.vii.19 and I.x.b.14, where journeymen tailors are said to earn 2s.6d. a day.
[72 ]See above, I.viii.13.
[73 ]1 Anne, st.2, c.22 (1702) in Statutes of the Realm, viii.220–1; 1 Anne, st.2, c.18 in Ruffhead’s edition provided for workmen in woollen, linen, fustian, cotton, and iron manufacture; 13 George II, c.8 (1739) for those engaged in the manufacture of gloves, breeches, boots, shoes, and slippers.
[74 ]8 George III, c.17 (1768) developed the restrictions of 7 George I, st.1, c.13 (1720), the terms of which Smith condemned above. See I.viii.12.
[75 ]LJ (A) vi.89 comments that the assize of bread, ‘tho’ necessary where corporations are allowed, does not answer the end of a plentifull market in any shape so well as that of allowing a free concurrence’. See also LJ (B) 232, ed. Cannan 180.
[76 ]31 George II, c.29 (1757).
[77 ]Magistrates and justices of the peace were empowered to act in place of the clerk of the market by 3 George III, c.6 (1762).
[78 ]See above, I.vii.36.
[1 ]‘The Farmer who conducts the working of it [the land] has generally two thirds of the produce, one third pays his expenses and upkeep, the other remains for the profit of his enterprise.’ (Cantillon, Essai, 266, ed. Higgs 201.)
[2 ]Cf. V.ii.c.12.
[3 ]Smith distinguishes between the gross and net rent of the landlords at II.ii.4 and describes their responsibilities with regard to the land at V.iii.54. Smith recommends that landlords should cultivate their ground at V.ii.c.15 since this group, he argued, have the capital and can afford experiments. However, he did not think highly of this class as improvers. See, for example, III.ii.7 and III.iv.3.
[4 ]LJ (A) i.61 makes an interesting and related point:
[5 ]In October 1797 the Chamberlain of Mull reported to the Duke of Argyll that he ‘has always had it in view . . . to calculate thirty shillings per ton upon the highest quantity of kelp that their shores were known to produce, which was thought to be as much as the price given for this article before the war would enable the tenants to pay’ (Argyll Estate Instructions, 1771–1805, ed. E. R. Cregeen (Edinburgh, 1964), 187–90). The great rise in kelp prices and in income for both tenant and landlord came immediately after the publication of The Wealth of Nations.
[6 ]It is pointed out at IV.ii.21 that country gentlemen are the least subject to the ‘wretched spirit of monopoly’.
[7 ]Smith uses this argument at V.ii.e.10 where it is suggested that taxes on the rent of land will not have disincentive effects.
[8 ]Smith examines the case of coalmines which yield no rent at I.xi.c.13.
[9 ]Cf. I.vi.8. The doctrine that rent is a residual is applied in the discussion of the incidence of taxation, for example, at V.ii.d, V.ii.g.8, and V.ii.i.a.
[cc* ]See Madox Firma Burgi, p. 26, &c.c [‘Anciently, a Gild either Religious or Secular could not legally be set–up without the King’s Licence. If any Persons erected a Gild without warrant, that is, without the King’s Leave, it was a Trespass, and they were lyable to be punished for it.’ Madox, Firma Burgi, 26.]