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BOOK commends the trade. Though their skill and
dexterity are much fuperior to that of almost
fions. Their value, however, may not perhaps CH A P. always exceed the difference between his pay and that of the common labourer; and though it sometimes should, the excess will not be clear gain to the failor, because he cannot share it with his wife and family, whom he must maintain out of his wages at home.
The dangers and hair-breadth escapes of a life of adventures, instead of disheartening young people, seem frequently to recommend a trade to them. A tender mother, among the inferior ranks of people, is often afraid to send her son to school at a sea-port town, left the light of the ships and the conversation and adventures of the failors Thould entice him to go to sea. The diftant prospect of hazards, from which we can hope to extricate ourselves by courage and address, is not disagreeable to us, and does not raise the wages of labour in any employment. It is other. wise with those in which courage and address can be of no avail. In trades which are known to be very
unwholesome, the wages of labour are always remarkably high. Unwholesomeness is a species of disagreeableness, and its effects
upon the wages of labour are to be ranked under that general head.
In all the different employments of stock, the ordinary rate of profit varies more or less with the certainty or uncertainty of the returns. These are in general less uncertain in the inland than in the foreign trade, and in some branches of foreign trade than in others; in the trade to North America, for example, than in that to I
BOO K Jamaica. The ordinary rate of profit always
rises more or less with the risk. It does not, how-
Of the five circumstances, therefore, which
neighbourhood, the average and ordinary rates CH A P. of profit in the different, employments of stock should be more nearly upon a level than the pecuniary wages of the different forts of labour. They are so accordingly. The difference between the earnings of a common labourer and those of a well employed lawyer or physician, is evidently much greater than that between the ordinary profits in any two different branches of trade. The apparent difference, besides, in the profits of different trades, is generally a deception arising from our not always diftinguishing what ought to be considered as wages, from what ought to be considered as profit.
Apothecaries profit is become a bye-word, denoting something uncommonly extravagant. This great apparent profit, however, is frequently no more than the reasonable wages of labour. The skill of an apothecary is a much nicer and more delicate matter than that of any artificer whatever; and the trust which is repofed in him is of much greater importance. He is the physician of the poor in all cases, and of the rich when the distress or danger is not very great. His reward, therefore, ought to be fuitable to his skill and his trust, and it arises generally from the price at which he sells his drugs. But the whole drugs which the best employed apothecary, in a large market town, will fell in a year, may not perhaps cost him above thirty or forty pounds. Though he should sell them, therefore, for three or four hundred, or at a thousand per cent. profit, this may frequently be
BOO K no more than the reasonable wages of his labour
charged, in the only way in which he can charge them, upon the price of his drugs. The greater part of the apparent profit is real wages disguised in the garb of profit.
In a small sea-port town, a little grocer will make forty or fifty per cent. upon a stock of a single hundred pounds, while a considerable wholesale merchant in the same place will scarce make eight or ten per cent. upon a stock of ten thousand. The trade of the grocer may be necessary for the conveniency of the inhabitants, and the narrowness of the market may not admit the employment of a larger capital in the business. The man, however, must not only live by his trade, but live by it suitably to the qualifications which it requires. Befides possessing a little capital, he must be able to read, write, and account, and must be a tolerable judge too of, perhaps, fifty or fixty different forts of goods, their prices, qualities, and the markets where they are to be had cheapest. He must have all the knowledge, in short, that is necessary for a great merchant, which nothing hinders him from becoming but the want of a sufficient capital. Thirty or forty pounds a year cannot be considered as too great a recompence for the labour of a person so accomplished. Deduct this from the seemingly great profits of his capital, and little more will remain, perhaps, than the ordinary profits of stock. The greater part of the apparent profit is, in this case too,