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as Wales, or the Highlands of Scotland, they are very common.
The Arabian histories seem to be all full of genealogies; and there is a history written by a Tartar Khan, which has been translated into several European languages, and which contains scarce any thingtelse ; a proof that ancient families are very common among those nations.
In countries where a rich man can spend his revenue in no other way than by maintaining as many people as it can maintain, he is not apt to run out, and his benevolence, it seems, is seldom so violent as to attempt to maintain more than he can afford. But where he can spend the greatest revenue upon his own person, he frequently has no bounds to his expence, because he frequently has no bounds to his vanity, or to his affection for his own person. In commercial countries, therefore, riches, in spite of the most violent regulations of law to prevent their dissipation, very seldom remain long in the same family. Among simple nations, on the contrary, they frequently do without any regulations of law : for among nations of shepherds, such as the Tartars and Arabs, the consumable nature of their property necessarily renders all such regulations impossible.
A revolution of the greatest importance to the public happiness, was in this manner brought about by two different orders of people, who had not the least intention to serve the public. To gratify the most childish vanity was the sole motive of the great proprietors. The merchants and artificers, much less ridiculous, acted merely from a view to their own interest, and in pursuit of their own pedlar principle,of turning a penny wherever a penny was
to be got. Neither of them had either knowledge or foresight of that great revolution which the folly of the one, and the industry of the other, was gradually bringing about.
It is thus, that through the greater part of Europe, the commerce and manufactures of cities, instead of being the effect, have been the cause and occasion of the improvement and cultivation of the country.
This order, however, being contrary to the natural course of things, is necessarily both slow and uncertain. Compare the slow progress of those European countries of which the wealth depends very much upon their commerceand manufactures, with the rapid advances of our North American colonies, of which the wealth is founded altogether in agriculture. Through the greater part of Europe, the number of inhabitants is not supposed to double in less than five hundred years. In several of our North American colonies, it is found to double in twenty or five-and-twenty years. In Europe, the law of primogeniture, and perpetuities of different kinds, prevent the division of great estates, and thereby hinder the multiplication of small proprietors. A small proprietor, however, who knows every part of his little territory, views it with all the affection which property, especially small property, naturally inspires, and who, upon that account, takes pleasure not only in cultivating but in adorning it, is generally of all improvers the most industrious, the most intelligent, and the most suc. eessful. The same regulations, besides,keep so much land out of the market, that there are always more capitals to buy than there is land to sell, so that what is sold always sells at a monopoly price. The
rent never pays the interest of the purchase money, and is, besides, burdened with repairs and other occasional charges, to which the interest of money is not liable, To purchase land, is, every where in Europe, a most unprofitable employment of a small capital. For the sake of the superior security, indeed, a man of moderate circumstances, when he retires from business, will sometimes choose to lay out his little capital in land. A man of profession, too, whose revenue is derived from another source, often loves to secure his savings in the same way. But a young man, who,instead of applying to trade or to some profession, should employ a capital of two or three thousand pounds in the purchase and cultivation of a small piece of land, might indeed expect to live very happily and very independently, but must bid adieu, for ever, to all hope of either great fortune or great illustration, which by a different employment of his stock, he might have had the same chance of acquiring with other people. Such a person too, though he cannot aspire at being a proprietor, will often disdain to be a farmer, The small quantity of land, therefore, which is brought to market, and the high price of what is brought thither, prevents a great number of capitals froin being employed in its cultivation and improvement, which would otherwise have taken that direction. In North America, on the contrary, fifty or sixty pounds is often found a sufficient stock to begin a plantation with. The purchase and improvement of uncultivated land, is there the most profitable employment of the smallest as well as of the greatest capitals, and the most direct road to all the for. tune and illustration which can be acquired in that
country. Such land, indeed, is in North America to be had almost for nothing, or at a price much below the value of the natural produce: a thing impossible in Europe ; or, indeed, in any country where all lands have long been private property. If landed estates, however, were divided equally among all the children, upon the death of any proprietor who left a numerous family,the estate would generally be sold. So much land would come to market, that it could no longer sell at a monopoly price. The free rent of the land would go no nearer to pay the interest of the purchase-money, and a small capital might be employed in purchasing land as profitably as in any other way.
England, on account of the natural fertility of the soil, of the great extent of the sea-coast in
proportion to that of the whole country, and of the many navigable rivers which run through it, and afford the conveniency of water-carriage to some of the most inland parts of it, is perhaps as well fitted by nature as any large country in Europe, to be the seat of foreign commerce, of manufactures, for distant sale, and of all the improvements which these can occasion. From the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth, too, the English legislature has been peculiarly attentive to the interest of commerce and manufactures, and, in reality, there is no country in Europe, Holland itself not excepted, of which the law is, upon the whole, more favourable to this sort of industry. Commerce and manufactures have accordingly been continually ada vancing during all this period. The cultivation and improvement of the country has, no doubt, been gradually advancing too: but it seems to have fol.
lowed slowly, and at a distance, the more rapid progress of commerce and manufactures. The greater part of the country must probably have been cultivated before the reign of Elizabeth; and a very
part of it still remains uncultivated ; and the cultivation of the far greater part much inferior to what it might be. The law of England, however, favours agriculture, not only indirectly, by the protection of commerce, but by several direct encouragements. Except in times of scarcity, the exportation of corn is not only free, but encouraged by a bounty. In times of moderate plenty, the importation of foreign corn is loaded with duties that amount to a prohibition. The importation of live cattle,except from Ireland, is prohibited at all times, anditis but of late that it was permitted from thence. Those who cultivate the land, therefore, have a monopoly against their countrymen for the two greatest and most important articles of land produce, bread and butcher's meat. These encouragements, though at bottom, perhaps, as I shall endeavour to shew hereafter, altogether illusory, , sufficiently demonstrate at least the good intention of the legislature to favour agriculture. But what is of much more importance than all of them, the yeomanry of England arerendered as secure, as independent, and as respectable, as law can make them. No country, therefore, in which the right of primogeniture takes place, which pays tithes, and where perpetuities, though contrary to the spirit of the law, are admitted in some cases, can give more encouragement to agriculture than England. Such, however, notwithstanding, is the state of its cultivation. What would it have been, had the law