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derives his subsistence; but that a planter who cultivates his own land, and derives his necessary subsistence from the labour of his own family, is really a master, and independent of all the world.
In countries,on the contrary, where there is either no uncultivated land, or none that can be had upon easy terms, every artificer who has acquired more stock than he can employ in the occasional jobs of the neighbourhood, endeavours to prepare work for more distant sale.
The smith erects some sort of iron, the weaver some sort of linen or woollen, manufactory. Those different manufactures come, in process of time, to be gradually subdivided, and thereby improved and refined in a great variety of ways, which may easily be conceived, and which it is therefore unnecessary to explain any farther.
In seeking for employment to a capital, manu, factures are, upon equal, or nearly equal, profits, naturally preferred to foreign commerce, for the same reason that agriculture is naturally preferred to manufactures. As the capital of the landlord or far, mer is more secure than that of the manufacturer, so the capital of the manufacturer being at all times more within his view and command, is more secure than that of the foreign merchant. In every period, indeed, of every society, the surplus part both of the rude and manufactured produce, or that for which there is no demand at home, must be sent abroad, in order to be exchanged for something for which there is some demand at home. But whether the capital, which carries this surplus produce abroad, be a foreign or a domestic one, is of very little importance. If the society has not acquired sufficient capital, both to cultivate all its lands, and
to manufacture in the completest manner the whole of its rude produce, there is even a considerable advantage that that rude produce should be exported by a foreign capital, inorder that the whole stock of the society may be employed in more useful purpo
The wealth of ancient Egypt, that of China and Indostan, sufficiently demonstrate thata nation may attain a very high degree of opulence, though the greater part of its exportation trade be carried on by foreigners. The progress of our North American and West Indian colonies, would have been much less rapid, had no capital but what belonged to themselves been employed in exporting their surplus produce.
According to the natural course of things, there, fore, the greater part of the capital of every growing society is, first, directed to agriculture, afterwards to manufactures, and last of all to foreign com. merce. This order of things is so very natural, that in every society that had any territory, it has always, I believe, been in some degree observed, Some of their lands must have been cultivated be fore any considerable towns could be established, and some sort of coarse industry of the manufac, turing kind must have been carried on in those towns, before they could well think of employing themselves in foreign commerce,
But though this natural order of things must have taken place in some degree in every such society, it has, in all the modern states of Europe, been in many respects, entirely inverted.
The foreign commerce of some of their cities has introduced all their finer manufactures, or such as were fit for. distant sale; and manufactures and foreign com
merce together, have given birth to the principal improvements of agriculture. The manners and customs which the nature of their original government introduced, and which remained after that government was greatly altered, necessarily forced them into this unnatural and retrograde order.
CHAP, II, Of the Discouragement of Agriculture in the ancient
State of Europe, after the Fall of the Roman Em
pire. When the German and Scythian nations overran the western provinces of the Roman empire, the confusions which followed so great a revolution lasted for several centuries. The rapine and violence which the barbarians exercised against the ancient inhabitants, interrupted the commerce between the lowns and the country. The towns were deserted, and the country was left uncultivated; and the western provinces of Europe, which had enjoyed a considerable degree of opulence under the Roman empire, sunk into the lowest state of poverty and þarbarism. During the continuance of those confusions, the chiefs and principal leaders of those nations, acquired or usurped to themselves the greater part of the lands of those countries. A great part of them was uncultivated; but no part of them, whether cultivated or uncultivated, was left without a proprietor. All of them were engrossed, and the greater part by a few great proprietors.
This original engrossing of uncultivated lands, though agreat,might have been buta transitory evil. They might soon have been divided again, and
broke into small parcels, either by succession or by alienation. The law of primogeniture hindered them from being divided by succession ; the intro. duction of entails prevented their being broke into small parcels by alienation.
When land, like moveables, is considered as the means only of subsistence and enjoyment, the natural law of succession divides it, like them, among all the children of the family; of all of whom the subsistence and enjoyment may be supposed equally dear to the father. This natural law of succession, accordingly, took place among the Ro. mans, who made no more distinction between elder and younger, between male and female, in the inheritance of lands, than we do in the distribution of movcables, But when land was considered as the means, not of subsistence merely, but of power and protection, it was thought better that it should de. scend undivided to one. In those disorderly times, every great landlord was a sort of petty prince. His tenants were his subjects. He was their judge, and in some respects their legislator in peace, and their leader in war. He made war according to his own discretion, frequently against his neighbours, and sometimes against his sovereign. The security of a landed estate, therefore, the protection which its owner could afford to those who dwelt on it, depended upon
its greatness. To divide it was to ruin it, and to expose every part of it to be oppressed and swallowed up by the incursions of its neighbours. The law of primogeniture, therefore, came to take place,notimmediately, indeed,but in process of time, in the succession of landed estates, for the same reason that it has generally taken place in that of monarchies, though not always at their first in
stitution. That the power, and consequently the security of the monarchy, may not be weakened by division, it must descend entire to one of the chil. dren. To which of them so important a preference shall be given, must be determined by some general rule, founded not upon the doubtful distinctions of personal merit, but upon some plain and evident difference which can admit of no dispute. Among the children of the same family, there can be no indisputable difference but that of sex, and that of age. The male sex is universally preferred to the female ; and when all other things are equal, the elder everywhere takes place of the younger. Hence the origin of the right of primogeniture, and of what is called lineal succession.
Laws frequently continue in force long after the circumstances which first gave occasion to them, and which could alone render them reasonable, are
In the present state of Europe, the proprietor of a single acre of land is as perfectly secure of his possession, as the proprietor of 100,000. The right of primogeniture, however,still continues to be respected ; and as of all institutions it is the fittest to support the pride of family distinctions, it is still likely to endure for many centuries. In every other respect, nothing can be more contrary to the real interest of a numerous family,than a right which, in order to enrich one, beggars all the rest of the children.
Entails are the natural consequences of the law of primogenitúre. They were introduced to preserve a certain lineal succession, of which the law of primogeniture first gave the idea, and to hinder any part of the original estate from being carried out of the proposed line eitker by gift, or devise,or aliena,