B 0.0 K upon such occasions commonly rise from a guinea

and seven-and-twenty fhillings, to forty shillings and three pounds a month. In a decaying manufacture, on the contrary, many workmen, rather than quit their old trade, are contented with smaller wages than would otherwise be suitable to the nature of their employment.

The profits of stock vary with the price of the commodities in which it is employed. As the price of any commodity rises above the ordinary or average rate, the profits of at least fome part of the stock that is employed in bringing it to market, rise above their proper level, and as it falls they fink below it. All commodities are more or less liable to variations of price, but some are much more so than others. In all commodities which are produced by human industry, the quantity of industry annually ema ployed is necessarily regulated by the annual demand, in such a manner that the average annual produce may, as nearly as possible, be equal to the average annual consumption. In fome employments, it has already been observed, the fame quantity of industry will always produce the same, or very nearly the same quantity of commodities. In the linen or woollen manufactures, for example, the same number of hands will annually work up very nearly the same quantity of linen and woollen cloth. The variations in the market price of such commodities, therefore, can arise only from fome accidental variation in the demand. A public mourning raises the price of black cloth. But as the de.



mand for most forts of plain linen and woollen C HA P. cloth is pretty uniform, fo is likewise the price. But there are other employments in which the fame quantity of industry will not always produce the same quantity of commodities. The fame quantity of industry, for example, will, in different years, produce very different quantities of corn, wine, hops, fugar, tobacco, &c. The price of such commodities, therefore, varies not only with the variations of demand, but with the much greater and more frequent variations of quantity, and is consequently extremely fluctuating. But the profit of some of the dealers must necessarily fluctuate with the price of the commodities. The operations of the speculative mer: chant are principally employed about such commodities. He endeavours to buy them up

when he foresees that their price is likely to rise, and to sell them when it is likely to fall.

Thirdly, This equality in the whole of the advántages and disadvantages of the different employments of labour and stock, can take place only in such as are the fole or principal employments of those who occupy them.

When a person derives his fubftence from one employment, which does not occupy the greater part of his time; in the intervals of his leisure he is often willing to work at another for less wages than would otherwise suit the nature of the employment.

There still subfifts in many parts of Scotland a set of people called Cotters or Cottagers, though they were more frequent some years ago


N 2

[ocr errors]

BOO K than they are now. They are a sort of out

servants of the landlords and farmers. The
usual reward which they receive from their
masters is a house, a small garden for pot herbs,
as much grafs as will feed a cow, and, perhaps,
an acre or two of bad arable land. When their
master has occasion for their labour, he gives
them, besides, two pecks of oatmeal a week,
worth about fixteen pence sterling. During a
great part of the year he has little or no occasion
for their labour, and the cultivation of their own
little possession is not fufficient to occupy the
time which is left at their own disposal. When
fuch occupiers were more numerous than they
are at present, they are said to have been willing
to give their spare time for a very finall recom-
pence to any body, and to have wrought for less
wages than other labourers. In ancient times
they seem to have been common all over Eu.
rope. In countries ill cultivated and worse in-
habited, the greater part of landlords and farm-
ers could not otherwise provide themfelves with
the extraordinary number of hands, which coun-
try labour requires at certain seasons. The daily
or weekly recompence which fuch labourers oc-
casionally received from their masters, was evia
dently not the whole price of their labour. Their
smalltenement made a confiderable part ofit. This
daily or weekly recompence, however, seems to
have been considered as the whole of it, by many
writers who have collected the prices of labour and
provisions in ancient times, and who have taken
pleasure in representing both as wonderfully low.



The produce of such labour comes frequently CHA P. cheaper to market than would otherwise be fuit. able to its nature. Stockings in many parts of Scotland are knit much cheaper than they can any-where be wrought upon the loom. They are the work of servants and labourers, who derive the principal part of their subsistence from fome other employment. More than a thousand pair of Shetland stockings are annually imported into Leith, of which the price is from five pence to seven pence a pair. At Learwick, the small capital of the Shetland islands, ten pence a day, I have been assured, is a common price of common labour. In the same islands they knit worsted stockings to the value of a guinea a pair and upwards.

The spinning of linen yarn is carried on in Scotland nearly in the same way as the knitting of stockings by fervants who are chiefly hired for other purposes. They earn but a very scanty fubfiftence, who endeavour to get their whole livelihood by either of those trades. In most parts of Scotland she is a good spinner who can earn twenty pence a week.

In opulent countries the market is generally fo extensive, that any one trade is sufficient to employ the whole labour and stock of those who occupy it. Instances of people's living by one employment, and at the same time deriving fome little advantage from another, occur chiefly in poor countries. The following instance, however, of something of the same kind is to be found in the capital of a very rich one. There

BOO K is no city in Europe, I believe, in which houseI.

rent is dearer than in London, and yet I know no capital in which a furnished apartment can be hired fo cheap. Lodging is not only much cheaper in London than in Paris ; it is much cheaper than in Edinburgh of the same degree of goodness; and what may seem extraordinary, the dearness of house-rent is the cause of the cheapness of lodging. The dearness of houserent in London arises, not only from those causes which render it dear in all great capitals, the dearness of labour, the dearness of all the materials of building, which must generally be brought from a great distance, and above all the dearness of ground-rent, every landlord acting the part of a monopolist, and frequently exacting a higher rent for a single acre of bad land in a town, than can be had for a hundred of the best in the country; but it arises in part from the peculiar manners and customs of the people, which oblige every master of a family to hire a whole house from top to bottom. A dwellinghouse in England means every thing that is contained under the same roof. In France, Scotland, and many other parts of Europe, it frequently means no more than a single story. A tradesman in London is obliged to hire a whole house in that part of the town where his customers live. His shop is upon the ground-floor, and he and his family sleep in the garret; and he endeavours to pay a part of his house-rent by letting the two middle stories to lodgers. He expects to maintain his family by his trade, and


« ForrigeFortsett »