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BOOK public deliberations, therefore, his voice is little
heard and less regarded, except upon some par. ticular occasions, when his clamour is animated, set on, and supported by his employers, not for his, but their own particular purposes,
His employers conftitute the third order, that of those who live by profit. It is the stock that is employed for the sake of profit, which puts into motion the greater part of the useful labour of every society. The plans and projects of the employers of stock regulate and direct all the most important operations of labour, and profit is the end proposed by all those plans and projects. But the rate of profit does not, like rent and wages, rise with the prosperity, and fall with the declension, of the society. On the contrary, it is naturally low in rich, and high in poor countries, and it is always highest in the countries which are going fastest to ruin. The interest of this third order, therefore, has not the same connexion with the general interest of the society as that of the other two. Merchants and master manufacturers are, in this order, the two classes of people who commonly employ the largest capitals, and who by their wealth draw to themselves the greatest share of the public confideration. As during their whole lives they are engaged in plans and projects, they have fre. quently more acuteness of understanding than the greater part of country gentlemen. As their thoughts, however, are commonly exercisedrather about the interest of their own particular branch
of business, than about that of the society, their c HA P. judgment, even when given with the greatest candour (which it has not been upon every occafion), is much more to be depended upon with regard to the former of those two objects, than with regard to the latter. Their superiority over the country gentleman is, not so much in their knowledge of the public interest, as in their having a better knowledge of their own interest than he has of his. It is by this superior knowledge of their own interest that they have frequently imposed upon his generosity, and persuaded him to give up both bis own interest and that of the public, from a very simple but honeft conviction, that their interest, and not his, was the interest of the public. The interest of the dealers, however, in any particular branch of trade or manufactures, is always in some refpects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public. To widen the market and to narrow the competition, is always the interest of the dealers. To widen the market may frequently be agreeable enough to the interest of the public; but to narrow the competition must always be against it, and can serve only to enable the dealers, by raising their profits above what they naturally would be, to levy, for their own benefit, an absurd tax upon the rest of their fellow-citizens. The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order, ought always to be listened to with great precaution, and ought never to be adopted
BO O K till afterhaving been long and carefully examined,
not only with the most scrupulous, but with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.
Years Price of the Quarter of Average of the dif- The average Price of
ferent Prices of the each Year in Money XII. Wheat each Year. same Year.
of the present Times
2 19 11
Years Price of the Quarter of Average of the dif-The Average Price ofic HA P. XII.
ferent Prices of the
each Year in Money Wheat each Year.
XI. fame Year.
of the present Times
BOOK Years Price of the Quarter off Average of the dit. The average Price of
ferent Prices of the each Year in Money I. XII. Wheat each Year.
of the present Times.
1423 1425 1434 1435
15 9 4 Average Price, I 591
£. S. d. £. S. d. 8
8 6 8
4 5 4
1 1 31