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nomy have done, understand the simple conveyance of the produce of agriculture and manufactures from the spot where it is produced to the place where it is consumed ; but such commerce as creates and multiplies productions by conferring upon them a value which else they would not possess. Merchants, by following navigators on all coasts, and travellers in all climates, to open commercial CO [Y] ]] }}nications with their inhabitants, by bringing to market the produce of unknown countries, or of savage and barbarous nations, and, in exchange for this produce, which is of no value to those distant nations, giving them other useful and agreeable productions, are actually creators of both this new produce and the equivalents which serve to pay for it, and augment public and private wealth by the whole value of this produce and its equivalents. There is, therefore, a kind of industry which is not paid for by local wealth ; which draws its wages from the wealth which it creates, and which of course can never obstruct any kind of manufactures and trade; which can neither be impoverished by, nor impoverish any ; all may prosper by each other's side, lend each other a mutual support, and be so much more beneficial to general wealth as they a Te l'Il Ol’e in Ul II letOUlS. Wrong notions have been entertained respecting commerce and manufactures, when it has been supposed that they are destroyed in proportion as they make any progress among different nations, and that manufacturing and trading nations have every thing to apprehend from the rapidity of such progress. The advantages of manufactures and commerce are not precarious and transitory ; they are permanent, unlimited, and indefinite, and can never be wrested from manufacturing and trading nations by the competition of agricultural nations. But it is particularly with regard to political power and independence that the superiority of the mercantile, over the agricultural system, becomes manifest. In the mercantile system, the manufacturing and trading classes are able to spare, for the service of the country, a great number of young men, without any prejudice to general labour. The diminution of hands is repaired by more exertion, more assiduity, and a better employment of time on the part of the other labourers. And, should the produce be diminished, its value is increased by its scarcity, the national income always remains the same, and consequently is always adequate to the wants of the individuals who devote themselves to the service of the state ; and what is most extraordinary, commerce and manufactures extend to the whole world the burthen of warfare which may press upon manufacturing and trading nations. Finally, if the interest of manufacturing and trading nations requires them to carry their means of attack and defence to a great distance, they find in their foreign and commercial relations, in the circulation of their produce on all points of the globe, and in their credit, facilities, and resources, from which
agricultural nations are debarred. *
* “ The bounds of all the European kingdoms are, at present,
“ (1752), nearly the same they were two hundred years ago : but
Manufactures and commerce afford in every respect means of wealth, power, and grandeur, which are not found in agriculture; and Adam Smith was equally right when he asserted, 1. That it is to the labours of industry that we are indebted for that general opulence which in a well-governed community extends to the lowest classes of the people ; and, 2. That the improvements of commerce and manufactures have begun in places, which enjoyed the rare advantage of carrying their produce to the market of the whole world.
Why has this precious and apparently involuntary avowal, drawn from his candour, not been developed in his excellent work 2 Why, after having acknowledged that the agricultural system cannot alone form a great nation, has not Adam Smith examined whether the case was the same with the mercantile system : And, though the latter has so many advantages over the former in his reasonings, why do his conclusions give the preference to the agricultural, over the mercantile system :
Shall I be allowed to declare the reason 2 Strong understandings are rarely fond of innovating : the authority of times that are past, often stops them on the road to new truths: they are afraid of going astray, even when they pursue the direction of the light which they themselves profusely scattered
* what a difference is there in the power and grandeur of those “ kingdoms ? Which can be ascribed to nothing but the increase “ of art and industry.” IHume’s Essays. Edinb. 1804, vol. i. part 2, of Resinement in the Arts, page 290.
abroad. When Adam Smith wrote his immortal work, the agricultural system was predominant in the most recent publications, and the mercantile system preponderated in public opinion and in the cabinets of princes. To choose between the two doctrines, or to introduce a new one, would not perhaps have been an easy task, and would not have insured the success of his work. The state of the science in his time rendered doubts allowable; and it is but justice to acknowledge, that if he declared for the agricultural system, he neglected mone of the considerations which could recommend the mercantile system and cause it to triumph, as it were, over his own decision. ... He overturned with one hand the altar which he had raised with the other, and contented himself with refuting errors fatal to the science without daring to proclaim truths which would have insured its progress and its success. To leave the question undecided between the agricultural and mercantile system, would have been neglecting his own lessons; it would have been stopping short of the point to which he has carried the science, it would have been relinquishing the course which he himself has traced to wealth. Let us therefore conclude, that if labour has the greatest share in the formation and progress of wealth, this productiveness is not the exclusive lot of any particular labour, but is common to labour in general, and eminently connected with manufactures and COIO II) el'C.C. How beautiful is this concurrence of all labours to produce wealth without any other pre-eminence or
distinction, than that which is obtained by the exchange of their productions ! How encouraging to the labouring classes, incentive to nations, favourable to civilization, and honourable to hurnanity! . In this system, all follow their individual inclinations, develope and improve their faculties, encourage each other by a noble emulation, are every moment reminded of their need of each other, connected by habit and mutual interest, and bound by the ties of the great family of the human race which the formation of separate nations had broken. Scattered all over the globe, men are no longer strangers to each other, they labour one for the other, and correspond together, although separated by deep seas, severe climates, inaccessible mountains, and unbospitable deserts. Thanks to the genius of commerce and the inexhaustible resources of industry, perils are braved, difficulties vanquished, obstacles overcome, and the produce of general labour circulated all over the world #. Can this generous and liberal system be compared with that which acknowledges no wealth but what proceeds from agriculture, allows the latter a superiority over all other labours, pays them with its produce, and impoverishes them all to grow rich by their misery : The parallel is repugnant to every prin
* “ Tutte le invenzicuole più bàn merità del gonere humano, “ e che hauno sviluppato l’ingegno e la facolta dell' animo nostro, • souo quelle che accostano loudno a l'uomo e facilitano la commu“ micazione delle idee, dei bisogui, dei sentimenti, e riducono il ge“ more umano a massa.” Dell' Econ. Polit. del Conde Meri, $2.