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BO O K the improvement of that country. In our North
American colonies the plantations have con. ftantly followed either the sea-coast or the banks of the navigable rivers, and have scarce any where extended themselves to any confiderable distance from both.
The nations that, according to the best authenticated history, appear to have been first civilized, were those that dwelt round the coast of the Mediterranean sea. That fea, by far the greatest inlet that is known in the world, having no tides, nor consequently any waves except such as are caused by the wind only, was, by the smoothness of its surface, as well as by the mul. titude of its islands, and the proximity of its neighbouring shores, extremely favourable to the infant navigation of the world ; when, from their ignorance of the compass, men were afraid to quit the view of the coast, and from the imperfection of the art of thip-building, to abandon themselves to the boisterous waves of the ocean. To pass beyond the pillars of Hercules, that is, to fail out of the Streights of Gibraltar, was, in the antient world, long considered as a most wonderful and dangerous exploit of navigation. It was late before even the Phenicians and Carthaginians, the most skilful navigators and shipbuilders of those old times, attempted it, and they were for a long time the only nations that did attempt it.
Of all the countries on the coast of the Medi. terranean sea, Egypt seems to have been the first in which either agriculture or manufactures were
cultivated and improved to any considerable C H A P. degree. Upper Egypt extends itself nowhere above a few miles from the Nile, and in Lower Egypt that great river breaks itself into many different canals, which, with the aflistance of a little art, seem to have afforded a communication by water-carriage, not only between all the great towns, but between all the considerable villages, and even to many farm-houses in the country; nearly in the fame manner as the Rhine and the Maese do in Holland at present. The extent and easiness of this inland navigation was probably one of the principal causes of the early improvement of Egypt.
The improvements in agriculture and manufactures seem likewise to have been of very great antiquity in the provinces of Bengal in the East Indies, and in some of the eastern provinces of China; though the great extent of this antiquity is not authenticated by any histories of whose authority we, in this part of the world, are well affured. In Bengal the Ganges and several other great rivers form a great number of navigable canals in the same manner as the Nile does in Egypt. In the Eastern provinces of China too, several great rivers form, by their different branches, a multitude of canals, and by communicating with one another afford an inland navigation much more extensive than that either of the Nile or the Ganges, or perhaps than both of them put together. It is remarkable that neither the antient Egyptians, nor the Indians, nor the Chinese, encouraged foreign commerce, but
BOO K seem all to have derived their great opulence 1.
from this inland navigation.
All the inland parts of Africa, and all that part of Asia which lies any confiderable way north of the Euxine and Cafpian seas, the antient Scythia, the modern Tartary and Siberia, feem in all ages of the world to have been in the same barbarous and uncivilized state in which we find them at present. The sea of Tartary is the frozen ocean which admits of no navigation, and though some of the greatest rivers in the world run through that country, they are at too great a distance from one another to carry commerce and communication through the greater part of it. There are in - Africa none of those great inlets, such as the Baltic and Adriatic seas in Europe, the Mediterranean and Euxine feas in both Europe and Asia, and the gulphs of Arabia, Perfia, India, Bengal, and Siam, in Afia, to carry maritime commerce into the interior parts of that great continent : and the great rivers of Africa areat too great a distance from one another to give occasion to any confiderable inland navi. gation. The commerce besides which any nation can carry on by means of a river which does not break itself into any great number of branches or canals, and which runs into another territory before it reaches the sea, can never be very considerable; because it is always in the power of the nations who poffefs that other territory to obstruct the communication between the upper country and the sea. The navigation of the Danube is of very little use to the different
ftates of Bavaria, Austria and Hungary, in com- CH A P.
III. parison of what it would be if any of them poffessed the whole of its course till it falls into the Black Sea.
IV. thoroughly established, it is but a very fmall part of a man's wants which the produce of his own labour can supply. He fupplies the far greater part of them by, exchanging that furplus part of the produce of his own labour, which is over and above his own consumption, for such parts of the produce of other men's labour as he has occasion for. Every man thus lives by exchanging, or becomes in some meafure a merchant, and the society itself grows to be what is properly a commercial society.
But when the divifion of labour first began to take place, this power of exchanging must frequently have been very much clogged and embarrassed in its operations. One man, we shali fuppofe, has more of a certain commodity than he himself has occasion for, while another has less. The former consequently would be glad to dispose of, and the latter to purchase, a part of this fuperfluity. But if this latter should chance to have nothing that the former stands in need of, no exchange can be made between them.
BOO K The butcher has more meat in his shop than he
himself can consume, and the brewer and the
Many different commodities, it is probable, were successively both thought of and employed for this purpose. In the rude
ages cattle are said to have been the common instrument of commerce; and, though they must have been a most inconvenient one, yet in old times we find things were frequently valued according to the number of cattle which had been given in exchange for them. The armour of Diomede, says Homer, coft only nine oxen ; but that of Glaucus cost an hundred oxen. Salt is faid to