Front Page Titles (by Subject) [I.xi.f] second period - Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence Vol. 2a An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, Vol. 1
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[I.xi.f] second period - 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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2From about 1570 to about 1640, during a period of about seventy years, the variation in the proportion between the value of silver and that of corn, held a quite opposite course. Silver sunk in its real value, or would exchange for a smaller quantity of labour than before; and corn rose in its nominal price, and instead of being commonly sold for about two ounces of silver the quarter, or about ten shillings of our present money, came to be sold for six and eight ounces of silver the quarter, or about thirty and forty shillings of our present money.
3The discovery of the abundant mines of America, seems to have been the sole cause of this diminution in the value of silver in proportion to that of corn.2 It is accounted for accordingly in the same manner by every body; and there never has been any dispute either about the fact, or about the cause of it. The greater part of Europe was, during this period, advancing in industry and improvement, and the demand for silver must consequently have been increasing. But the increase of the supply had, it seems, so far exceeded that of the demand, that the value of that metal sunk considerably. The discovery of the mines of America, it is to be observed, does not seem to have had any very sensible effect upon the prices of things in England till after 1570; though even the mines of Potosi had been discovered more than btwentyb years before.3
4From 1595 to 1620, both inclusive, the average price of the quarter of nine bushels of the best wheat at Windsor market, appears from the accounts of Eton College, to have been 2l. 1s. 6d. 9/13. From which sum, neglecting the fraction, and deducting a ninth,4 or 4s. 7d. ⅓, the price of the quarter of eight bushels comes out to have been 1l. 16s. 10d.⅔. And from this sum, neglecting likewise the fraction, and deducting a ninth, or 4s. 1d. 1/9, for the difference between the price of the best wheat and that of the middle wheat, the price of the middle wheat comes out to have been about 1l. 12s. 8d. 8/9, or about six ounces and one–third of an ounce of silver.
5From 1621 to 1636, both inclusive, the average price of the same measure of the best wheat at the same market, appears, from the same accounts, to have been 2l. 10s.; from which making the like deductions as in the foregoing case, the average price of the quarter of eight bushels of middle wheat comes out to have been 1l. 19s. 6d. or about seven ounces and two–thirds of an ounce of silver.
[1 ]‘Everybody agrees that the abundance of money or its increase in exchange, raises the price of everything. The quantity of money brought from America to Europe for the last two centuries justifies this truth by experience.’ (Cantillon, Essai, 212, ed. Higgs 161.)
[2 ]See above, I.v.7, and below, IV.i.32 and V.ii.c.5.
[b–b]thirty 1–2 (twenty 2e–6)
[3 ]LJ (A) vi.134–5 comments that ‘From the fall of the Roman empire till the discovery of the Span. West Indies prices continually rose, since which they have fallen, unless at the Revolution when they rose for some time.’ Cf. LJ (B) 254, ed. Cannan 198.
[4 ]‘It hath been found that the value of all the Wheat fit for bread, if mixed together, would be eight ninths of the value of the best Wheat, and the same proportion may reasonable be supposed in Barley’. (C. Smith, Three Tracts on the Corn Trade and Corn Laws (2nd ed., London, 1766), 104.)