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BOOK poor country, in a country which abounds with 1 - subsistence, than in one which is but indifterently supplied with it. If the two countries are at a great distance, the difference may be very great; because though the metals naturally fly from the worse to the better market, yet it may be difficult to transport them in such quantities as to bring their price nearly to a level in both. If the countries are near, the difference will be smaller, and may sometimes be scarce perceptible; because in this case the transportation will be easy. China is a much richer country than any part of Europe, and the difference between the price of subsistence in China and in Europe is very great. Rice in China is much cheaper than wheat is any-where in Europe. England is a much richer country than Scotland; but the difference between the moneyprice of corn in those two countries is much smaller, and is but just perceptible. In proportion to the quantity or measure, Scotch com generally appears to be a good deal cheaper than English; but in proportion to its quality, it is certainly somewhat dearer. Scotland receives almost every year very large supplies from England, and every commodity must commonly be somewhat dearer in the country to which it is brought than in that from which it comes. English corn, therefore, must be dearer in Scotland than in England, and yet in proportion to its quality, or to the quantity and goodness of the flour or meal which can be made from it, it cannot commonly be fold higher there than the
Scotch Scotch corn, which comes to market in compe- Chap. tition with it. TM' ,
The difference between the money price of labour in China and in Europe, is still greater than that between the money price of subsistence; because the real recompence of labour is higher in Europe than in China, the greater part of Europe being in an improving state, while China seems to be standing still. The money price of labour is lower in Scotland than in England, because the real recompence of labour is much lower; Scotland, though advancing to greater wealth, advancing much more slowly than England. The frequency of emigration from Scotland, and the rarity of it from England, sufficiently prove that the demand for labour is very different in the two countries. The proportion between the real recompence of labour in different countries, it must be remembered, is naturally regulated, not by their actual wealth or poverty, but by their advancing, stationary, or declining condition.
Gold and silver, as they are naturally of the greatest value among the richest, so they are naturally of the least value among the poorest nations. Among savages, the poorest of all nai tions, they are of scarce any value.
In great towns corn is always dearer than in remote parts of the country. This, however, is the effect, not of the real cheapness of silver, but of the real dearness of corn. It does not cost less labour to bring silver to the great town than to the remote parts of the country; but it costs a great deal more to bring corn.
K In some very rich and commercial countries, such as Holland and the territory of Genoa, corn is dear for the fame reason that it is dear in great towns. They do not produce enough to maintain their inhabitants. They are rich in the industry and skill of their artisicers and manufacturers; in every fort of machinery which can facilitate and abridge labour; in stiipping, and in all the other instruments and means of carriage and commerce: but they are poor in corn, which, as it must be brought to them from dif tant countries, must, by an addition to its price, pay for the carriage from those countries. It does not cost less labour to bring silver to Amsterdam than to Dantzick; but it costs a great deal more to bring corn. The real cost of silver must be nearly the fame in both places; but that of corn must be very different. Diminish the real opulence either of Holland or of the territory of Genoa, while the number of their inhabitants remains the fame: diminish their power of supplying themselves from distant countries; and the price of corn, instead of sinking with that diminution in the quantity of their silver, which must necessarily accompany this declension either as its cause or as its effect, will rife to the price of a famine. When we are in want of necessaries we must part with all superfluities, of which the value, as it rises in times of opulence and prosperity, so it sinks in times of poverty and distress. It is otherwise with necessaries. Their real price, the quantity of labour which they can purchase or command, rises in times of poverty and distress, and sinks in times Chap. of opulence and prosperity, which are always Xltimes of great abundance; for they could not' ~' otherwise be times of opulence and prosperity. Corn is a necessary, silver is only a superfluity.
Whatever, therefore, may have been the increase in the quantity of the precious metals, which, during the period between the middle of the fourteenth and that of the sixteenth century, arose from the increase of wealth and improvement, it could have no tendency to diminim their value either in Great Britain, or in any other part of Europe. If those who have collected the prices of things in ancient times, therefore, had, during this period, no reason to infer the diminution of the value of silver, from any observ ations which they had made upon the prices either of corn or of other commodities, they had still less reason to infer it from any supposed increase of wealth and improvement. «
But how various soever may have been the opinions of the learned concerning the progress of the value of stiver during this sirst period, they are unanimous concerning it during the second.
From about 1570 to about 1640, during a period of about seventy years, the variation in the proportion between the value of stiver and that of corn, held a quite opposite course. Silver
BOOK ver sunk in its real value, or would exchange l' for a smaller quantity of labour than before; and corn rose in its nominal price, and instead of being commonly fold 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.
The 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. It is accounted for accordingly in the fame manner by every body; and there never has been any dispute either about the fact, or about the 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 funk 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 twenty years before.
From 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 a/. is. 6sTd. From which sum, neglecting the fraction, and deducting a riinth, or 4s. 7