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dependency. Their situation has placed them less in the view, and less
in the power of their mother country. In pursuing their interest their
own way, their conduct has upon many occasions been overlooked, either
because not known or not understood in Europe; and upon some occasions
it has been fairly suffered and submitted to, because their distance
rendered it difficult to restrain it. Even the violent and arbitrary
government of Spain has, upon many occasions, been obliged to recall
or soften the orders which had been given for the government of her
colonies, for fear of a general insurrection. The progress of all the
European colonies in wealth, population, and improvement, has
accordingly been very great.

The crown of Spain, by its share of the gold and silver, derived some
revenue from its colonies from the moment of their first
establishment. It was a revenue, too, of a nature to excite in human
avidity the most extravagant expectation of still greater riches. The
Spanish colonies, therefore, from the moment of their first
establishment, attracted very much the attention of their mother
country; while those of the other European nations were for a long
time in a great measure neglected. The former did not, perhaps, thrive
the better in consequence of this attention, nor the latter the worse
in consequence of this neglect. In proportion to the extent of the
country which they in some measure possess, the Spanish colonies are
considered as less populous and thriving than those of almost any
other European nation. The progress even of the Spanish colonies,
however, in population and improvement, has certainly been very rapid
and very great. The city of Lima, founded since the conquest, is
represented by Ulloa as containing fifty thousand inhabitants near
thirty years ago. Quito, which had been but a miserable hamlet of
Indians, is represented by the same author as in his time equally
populous. Gemel i Carreri, a pretended traveller, it is said, indeed,
but who seems everywhere to have written upon extreme good
information, represents the city of Mexico as containing a hundred
thousand inhabitants; a number which, in spite of all the
exaggerations of the Spanish writers, is probably more than five times
greater than what it contained in the time of Montezuma. These numbers
exceed greatly those of Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, the three
greatest cities of the English colonies. Before the conquest of the
Spaniards, there were no cattle fit for draught, either in Mexico or
Peru. The lama was their only beast of burden, and its strength seems
to have been a good deal inferior to that of a common ass. The plough
was unknown among them. They were ignorant of the use of iron. They
had no coined money, nor any established instrument of commerce of any
kind. Their commerce was carried on by barter. A sort of wooden spade
was their principal instrument of agriculture. Sharp stones served
them for knives and hatchets to cut with; fish bones, and the hard
sinews of certain animals, served them with needles to sew with; and
these seem to have been their principal instruments of trade. In this
state of things, it seems impossible that either of those empires
could have been so much improved or so well cultivated as at present,
when they are plentifully furnished with all sorts of European cattle,
and when the use of iron, of the plough, and of many of the arts of
Europe, have been introduced among them. But the populousness of every
country must be in proportion to the degree of its improvement and
cultivation. In spite of the cruel destruction of the natives which
followed the conquest, these two great empires are probably more
populous now than they ever were before; and the people are surely
very different; for we must acknowledge, I apprehend, that the Spanish
creoles are in many respects superior to the ancient Indians.

After the settlements of the Spaniards, that of the Portuguese in
Brazil is the oldest of any European nation in America. But as for a
long time after the first discovery neither gold nor silver mines were
found in it, and as it afforded upon that account little or no revenue
to the crown, it was for a long time in a great measure neglected; and
during this state of neglect, it grew up to be a great and powerful
colony. While Portugal was under the dominion of Spain, Brazil was
attacked by the Dutch, who got possession of seven of the fourteen
provinces into which it is divided. They expected soon to conquer the
other seven, when Portugal recovered its independency by the elevation
of the family of Braganza to the throne. The Dutch, then, as enemies
to the Spaniards, became friends to the Portuguese, who were likewise
the enemies of the Spaniards. They agreed, therefore, to leave that
part of Brazil which they had not conquered to the king of Portugal,
who agreed to leave that part which they had conquered to them, as a
matter not worth disputing about, with such good allies. But the Dutch
government soon began to oppress the Portuguese colonists, who,
instead of amusing themselves with complaints, took arms against their
new masters, and by their own valour and resolution, with the
connivance, indeed, but without any avowed assistance from the mother
country, drove them out of Brazil. The Dutch, therefore, finding it
impossible to keep any part of the country to themselves, were
contented that it should be entirely restored to the crown of
Portugal. In this colony there are said to be more than six hundred
thousand people, either Portuguese or descended from Portuguese,
creoles, mulattoes, and a mixed race between Portuguese and
Brazilians. No one colony in America is supposed to contain so great a
number of people of European extraction.

Towards the end of the fifteenth, and during the greater part of the
sixteenth century, Spain and Portugal were the two great naval powers
upon the ocean; for though the commerce of Venice extended to every
part of Europe, its fleet had scarce ever sailed beyond the
Mediterranean. The Spaniards, in virtue of the first discovery,
claimed all America as their own; and though they could not hinder so
great a naval power as that of Portugal from settling in Brazil, such
was at that time the terror of their name, that the greater part of
the other nations of Europe were afraid to establish themselves in any
other part of that great continent. The French, who attempted to
settle in Florida, were all murdered by the Spaniards. But the
declension of the naval power of this latter nation, in consequence of
the defeat or miscarriage of what they called their invincible armada,
which happened towards the end of the sixteenth century, put it out of
their power to obstruct any longer the settlements of the other
European nations. In the course of the seventeenth century, therefore,
the English, French, Dutch, Danes, and Swedes, all the great nations
who had any ports upon the ocean, attempted to make some settlements
in the new world.

The Swedes established themselves in New Jersey; and the number of
Swedish families still to be found there sufficiently demonstrates,
that this colony was very likely to prosper, had it been protected by
the mother country. But being neglected by Sweden, it was soon
swallowed up by the Dutch colony of New York, which again, in 1674,
fell under the dominion of the English.

The small islands of St. Thomas and Santa Cruz, are the only countries
in the new world that have ever been possessed by the Danes. These
little settlements, too, were under the government of an exclusive
company, which had the sole right, both of purchasing the surplus
produce of the colonies, and of supplying them with such goods of
other countries as they wanted, and which, therefore, both in its
purchases and sales, had not only the power of oppressing them, but
the greatest temptation to do so. The government of an exclusive
company of merchants is, perhaps, the worst of all governments for any
country whatever. It was not, however, able to stop altogether the
progress of these colonies, though it rendered it more slow and
languid. The late king of Denmark dissolved this company, and since
that time the prosperity of these colonies has been very great.

The Dutch settlements in the West, as well as those in the East
Indies, were originally put under the government of an exclusive
company. The progress of some of them, therefore, though it has been
considerable in comparison with that of almost any country that has
been long peopled and established, has been languid and slow in
comparison with that of the greater part of new colonies. The colony
of Surinam, though very considerable, is still inferior to the greater
part of the sugar colonies of the other European nations. The colony
of Nova Belgia, now divided into the two provinces of New York and New
Jersey, would probably have soon become considerable too, even though
it had remained under the government of the Dutch. The plenty and
cheapness of good land are such powerful causes of prosperity, that
the very worst government is scarce capable of checking altogether the
efficacy of their operation. The great distance, too, from the mother
country, would enable the colonists to evade more or less, by
smuggling, the monopoly which the company enjoyed against them. At
present, the company allows all Dutch ships to trade to Surinam, upon
paying two and a-half per cent. upon the value of their cargo for a
license; and only reserves to itself exclusively, the direct trade
from Africa to America, which consists almost entirely in the slave
trade. This relaxation in the exclusive privileges of the company, is
probably the principal cause of that degree of prosperity which that
colony at present enjoys. Curacoa and Eustatia, the two principal
islands belonging to the Dutch, are free ports, open to the ships of
all nations; and this freedom, in the midst of better colonies, whose
ports are open to those of one nation only, has been the great cause
of the prosperity of those two barren islands.

The French colony of Canada was, during the greater part of the last
century, and some part of the present, under the government of an
exclusive company. Under so unfavourable an administration, its
progress was necessarily very slow, in comparison with that of other
new colonies; but it became much more rapid when this company was
dissolved, after the fall of what is called the Mississippi scheme.
When the English got possession of this country, they found in it near
double the number of inhabitants which father Charlevoix had assigned
to it between twenty and thirty years before. That jesuit had
travelled over the whole country, and had no inclination to represent
it as less inconsiderable than it really was.

The French colony of St. Domingo was established by pirates and
freebooters, who, for a long time, neither required the protection,
nor acknowledged the authority of France; and when that race of
banditti became so far citizens as to acknowledge this authority, it
was for a long time necessary to exercise it with very great
gentleness. During this period, the population and improvement of this
colony increased very fast. Even the oppression of the exclusive
company, to which it was for some time subjected with all the other
colonies of France, though it no doubt retarded, had not been able to
stop its progress altogether. The course of its prosperity returned as
soon as it was relieved from that oppression. It is now the most
important of the sugar colonies of the West Indies, and its produce is
said to be greater than that of all the English sugar colonies put
together. The other sugar colonies of France are in general all very

But there are no colonies of which the progress has been more rapid
than that of the English in North America.

Plenty of good land, and liberty to manage their own affairs their own
way, seem to be the two great causes of the prosperity of all new

In the plenty of good land, the English colonies of North America,
though no doubt very abundantly provided, are, however, inferior to
those of the Spaniards and Portuguese, and not superior to some of
those possessed by the French before the late war. But the political
institutions of the English colonies have been more favourable to the
improvement and cultivation of this land, than those of the other
three nations.

First, The engrossing of uncultivated land, though it has by no
means been prevented altogether, has been more restrained in the
English colonies than in any other. The colony law, which imposes upon
every proprietor the obligation of improving and cultivating, within a
limited time, a certain proportion of his lands, and which, in case of
failure, declares those neglected lands grantable to any other person;
though it has not perhaps been very strictly executed, has, however,
had some effect.

Secondly, In Pennsylvania there is no right of primogeniture, and
lands, like moveables, are divided equally among all the children of
the family. In three of the provinces of New England, the oldest has
only a double share, as in the Mosaical law. Though in those
provinces, therefore, too great a quantity of land should sometimes be
engrossed by a particular individual, it is likely, in the course of a
generation or two, to be sufficiently divided again. In the other
English colonies, indeed, the right of primogeniture takes place, as
in the law of England: But in all the English colonies, the tenure of
the lands, which are all held by free soccage, facilitates alienation;
and the grantee of an extensive tract of land generally finds it for
his interest to alienate, as fast as he can, the greater part of it,
reserving only a small quit-rent. In the Spanish and Portuguese
colonies, what is called the right of majorazzo takes place in the
succession of all those great estates to which any title of honour is
annexed. Such estates go all to one person, and are in effect entailed
and unalienable. The French colonies, indeed, are subject to the
custom of Paris, which, in the inheritance of land, is much more
favourable to the younger children than the law of England. But, in
the French colonies, if any part of an estate, held by the noble
tenure of chivalry and homage, is alienated, it is, for a limited
time, subject to the right of redemption, either by the heir of the
superior, or by the heir of the family; and all the largest estates of
the country are held by such noble tenures, which necessarily
embarrass alienation. But, in a new colony, a great uncultivated
estate is likely to be much more speedily divided by alienation than
by succession. The plenty and cheapness of good land, it has already
been observed, are the principal causes of the rapid prosperity of new
colonies. The engrossing of land, in effect, destroys this plenty and
cheapness. The engrossing of uncultivated land, besides, is the
greatest obstruction to its improvement; but the labour that is
employed in the improvement and cultivation of land affords the
greatest and most valuable produce to the society. The produce of
labour, in this case, pays not only its own wages and the profit of
the stock which employs it, but the rent of the land too upon which it
is employed. The labour of the English colonies, therefore, being more
employed in the improvement and cultivation of land, is likely to
afford a greater and more valuable produce than that of any of the
other three nations, which, by the engrossing of land, is more or less
diverted towards other employments.

Thirdly, The labour of the English colonists is not only likely to
afford a greater and more valuable produce, but, in consequence of the
moderation of their taxes, a greater proportion of this produce
belongs to themselves, which they may store up and employ in putting
into motion a still greater quantity of labour. The English colonists
have never yet contributed any thing towards the defence of the mother
country, or towards the support of its civil government. They
themselves, on the contrary, have hitherto been defended almost
entirely at the expense of the mother country; but the expense of
fleets and armies is out of all proportion greater than the necessary
expense of civil government. The expense of their own civil government
has always been very moderate. It has generally been confined to what
was necessary for paying competent salaries to the governor, to the
judges, and to some other officers of police, and for maintaining a
few of the most useful public works. The expense of the civil
establishment of Massachusetts Bay, before the commencement of the
present disturbances, used to be but about 18;000 a-year; that of New
Hampshire and Rhode Island, 3500 each; that of Connecticut, 4000;
that of New York and Pennsylvania, 4500 each; that of New Jersey,
1200; that of Virginia and South Carolina, 8000 each. The civil
establishments of Nova Scotia and Georgia are partly supported by an
annual grant of parliament; but Nova Scotia pays, besides, about 7000
a-year towards the public expenses of the colony, and Georgia about
2500 a-year. All the different civil establishments in North America,
in short, exclusive of those of Maryland and North Carolina, of which
no exact account has been got, did not, before the commencement of the
present disturbances, cost the inhabitants about 64,700 a-year; an
ever memorable example, at how small an expense three millions of
people may not only be governed but well governed. The most important
part of the expense of government, indeed, that of defence and
protection, has constantly fallen upon the mother country. The
ceremonial, too, of the civil government in the colonies, upon the
reception of a new governor, upon the opening of a new assembly, etc.
though sufficiently decent, is not accompanied with any expensive pomp
or parade. Their ecclesiastical government is conducted upon a plan
equally frugal. Tithes are unknown among them; and their clergy, who
are far from being numerous, are maintained either by moderate
stipends, or by the voluntary contributions of the people. The power
of Spain and Portugal, on the contrary, derives some support from the
taxes levied upon their colonies. France, indeed, has never drawn any
considerable revenue from its colonies, the taxes which it levies upon
them being generally spent among them. But the colony government of
all these three nations is conducted upon a much more extensive plan,
and is accompanied with a much more expensive ceremonial. The sums
spent upon the reception of a new viceroy of Peru, for example, have
frequently been enormous. Such ceremonials are not only real taxes
paid by the rich colonists upon those particular occasions, but they
serve to introduce among them the habit of vanity and expense upon all
other occasions. They are not only very grievous occasional taxes, but
they contribute to establish perpetual taxes, of the same kind, still
more grievous; the ruinous taxes of private luxury and extravagance.
In the colonies of all those three nations, too, the ecclesiastical
government is extremely oppressive. Tithes take place in all of them,
and are levied with the utmost rigour in those of Spain and Portugal.
All of them, besides, are oppressed with a numerous race of mendicant
friars, whose beggary being not only licensed but consecrated by
religion, is a most grievous tax upon the poor people, who are most
carefully taught that it is a duty to give, and a very great sin to
refuse them their charity. Over and above all this, the clergy are, in
all of them, the greatest engrossers of land.

Fourthly, In the disposal of their surplus produce, or of what is
over and above their own consumption, the English colonies have been
more favoured, and have been allowed a more extensive market, than
those of any other European nation. Every European nation has
endeavoured, more or less, to monopolize to itself the commerce of its
colonies, and, upon that account, has prohibited the ships of foreign
nations from trading to them, and has prohibited them from importing
European goods from any foreign nation. But the manner in which this
monopoly has been exercised in different nations, has been very

Some nations have given up the whole commerce of their colonies to an
exclusive company, of whom the colonists were obliged to buy all such
European goods as they wanted, and to whom they were obliged to sell
the whole of their surplus produce. It was the interest of the
company, therefore, not only to sell the former as dear, and to buy
the latter as cheap as possible, but to buy no more of the latter,
even at this low price, than what they could dispose of for a very high
price in Europe. It was their interest not only to degrade in all
cases the value of the surplus produce of the colony, but in many
cases to discourage and keep down the natural increase of its
quantity. Of all the expedients that can well be contrived to stunt
the natural growth of a new colony, that of an exclusive company is
undoubtedly the most effectual. This, however, has been the policy of
Holland, though their company, in the course of the present century,
has given up in many respects the exertion of their exclusive
privilege. This, too, was the policy of Denmark, till the reign of the
late king. It has occasionally been the policy of France; and of late,
since 1755, after it had been abandoned by all other nations on
account of its absurdity, it has become the policy of Portugal, with
regard at least to two of the principal provinces of Brazil,
Pernambucco, and Marannon.

Other nations, without establishing an exclusive company, have
confined the whole commerce of their colonies to a particular port of
the mother country, from whence no ship was allowed to sail, but
either in a fleet and at a particular season, or, if single, in
consequence of a particular license, which in most cases was very well
paid for. This policy opened, indeed, the trade of the colonies to all
the natives of the mother country, provided they traded from the
proper port, at the proper season, and in the proper vessels. But as
all the different merchants, who joined their stocks in order to fit
out those licensed vessels, would find it for their interest to act in
concert, the trade which was carried on in this manner would
necessarily be conducted very nearly upon the same principles as that
of an exclusive company. The profit of those merchants would be almost
equally exorbitant and oppressive. The colonies would be ill supplied,
and would be obliged both to buy very dear, and to sell very cheap.
This, however, till within these few years, had always been the policy
of Spain; and the price of all European goods, accordingly, is said to
have been enormous in the Spanish West Indies. At Quito, we are told
by Ulloa, a pound of iron sold for about 4s:6d., and a pound of steel
for about 6s:9d. sterling. But it is chiefly in order to purchase
European goods that the colonies part with their own produce. The
more, therefore, they pay for the one, the less they really get for
the other, and the dearness of the one is the same thing with the
cheapness of the other. The policy of Portugal is, in this respect,
the same as the ancient policy of Spain, with regard to all its
colonies, except Pernambucco and Marannon; and with regard to these it
has lately adopted a still worse.

Other nations leave the trade of their colonies free to all their
subjects, who may carry it on from all the different ports of the
mother country, and who have occasion for no other license than the
common despatches of the custom-house. In this case the number and
dispersed situation of the different traders renders it impossible for
them to enter into any general combination, and their competition is
sufficient to hinder them from making very exorbitant profits. Under
so liberal a policy, the colonies are enabled both to sell their own
produce, and to buy the goods of Europe at a reasonable price; but
since the dissolution of the Plymouth company, when our colonies were
but in their infancy, this has always been the policy of England. It
has generally, too, been that of France, and has been uniformly so
since the dissolution of what in England is commonly called their
Mississippi company. The profits of the trade, therefore, which France
and England carry on with their colonies, though no doubt somewhat
higher than if the competition were free to all other nations, are,
however, by no means exorbitant; and the price of European goods,
accordingly, is not extravagantly high in the greater past of the
colonies of either of those nations.

In the exportation of their own surplus produce, too, it is only with
regard to certain commodities that the colonies of Great Britain are
confined to the market of the mother country. These commodities having
been enumerated in the act of navigation, and in some other subsequent
acts, have upon that account been called enumerated commodities. The
rest are called non-enumerated, and may be exported directly to other
countries, provided it is in British or plantation ships, of which the
owners and three fourths of the mariners are British subjects.

Among the non-enumerated commodities are some of the most important
productions of America and the West Indies, grain of all sorts,
lumber, salt provisions, fish, sugar, and rum.

Grain is naturally the first and principal object of the culture of
all new colonies. By allowing them a very extensive market for it, the
law encourages them to extend this culture much beyond the consumption
of a thinly inhabited country, and thus to provide beforehand an ample
subsistence for a continually increasing population.

In a country quite covered with wood, where timber consequently is of
little or no value, the expense of clearing the ground is the
principal obstacle to improvement. By allowing the colonies a very
extensive market for their lumber, the law endeavours to facilitate
improvement by raising the price of a commodity which would otherwise
be of little value, and thereby enabling them to make some profit of
what would otherwise be mere expense.

In a country neither half peopled nor half cultivated, cattle
naturally multiply beyond the consumption of the inhabitants, and are
often, upon that account, of little or no value. But it is necessary,
it has already been shown, that the price of cattle should bear a
certain proportion to that of corn, before the greater part of the
lands of any country can be improved. By allowing to American cattle,
in all shapes, dead and alive, a very extensive market, the law
endeavours to raise the value of a commodity, of which the high price
is so very essential to improvement. The good effects of this liberty,
however, must be somewhat diminished by the 4th of Geo. III. c. 15,
which puts hides and skins among the enumerated commodities, and
thereby tends to reduce the value of American cattle.

To increase the shipping and naval power of Great Britain by the
extension of the fisheries of our colonies, is an object which the
legislature seems to have had almost constantly in view. Those
fisheries, upon this account, have had all the encouragement which
freedom can give them, and they have flourished accordingly. The New
England fishery, in particular, was, before the late disturbances, one
of the most important, perhaps, in the world. The whale fishery which,
notwithstanding an extravagant bounty, is in Great Britain carried on
to so little purpose, that in the opinion of many people ( which I do
not, however, pretend to warrant), the whole produce does not much
exceed the value of the bounties which are annually paid for it, is in
New England carried on, without any bounty, to a very great extent.
Fish is one of the principal articles with which the North Americans
trade to Spain, Portugal, and the Mediterranean.

Sugar was originally an enumerated commodity, which could only be
exported to Great Britain; but in 1751, upon a representation of the
sugar-planters, its exportation was permitted to all parts of the
world. The restrictions, however, with which this liberty was granted,
joined to the high price of sugar in Great Britain, have rendered it
in a great measure ineffectual. Great Britain and her colonies still
continue to be almost the sole market for all sugar produced in the
British plantations. Their consumption increases so fast, that, though
in consequence of the increasing improvement of Jamaica, as well as of
the ceded islands, the importation of sugar has increased very greatly
within these twenty years, the exportation to foreign countries is
said to be not much greater than before.

Rum is a very important article in the trade which the Americans carry
on to the coast of Africa, from which they bring back negro slaves in

If the whole surplus produce of America, in grain of all sorts, in
salt provisions, and in fish, had been put into the enumeration, and
thereby forced into the market of Great Britain, it would have
interfered too much with the produce of the industry of our own
people. It was probably not so much from any regard to the interest of
America, as from a jealousy of this interference, that those important
commodities have not only been kept out of the enumeration, but that
the importation into Great Britain of all grain, except rice, and of
all salt provisions, has, in the ordinary state of the law, been

The non-enumerated commodities could originally be exported to all
parts of the world. Lumber and rice having been once put into the
enumeration, when they were afterwards taken out of it, were confined,
as to the European market, to the countries that lie south of Cape
Finisterre. By the 6th of George III. c. 52, all non-enumerated
commodities were subjected to the like restriction. The parts of
Europe which lie south of Cape Finisterre are not manufacturing
countries, and we are less jealous of the colony ships carrying home
from them any manufactures which could interfere with our own.

The enumerated commodities are of two sorts; first, such as are either
the peculiar produce of America, or as cannot be produced, or at least
are not produced in the mother country. Of this kind are molasses,
coffee, cocoa-nuts, tobacco, pimento, ginger, whalefins, raw silk,
cotton, wool, beaver, and other peltry of America, indigo, fustick,
and other dyeing woods; secondly, such as are not the peculiar produce
of America, but which are, and may be produced in the mother country,
though not in such quantities as to supply the greater part of her
demand, which is principally supplied from foreign countries. Of this
kind are all naval stores, masts, yards, and bowsprits, tar, pitch,
and turpentine, pig and bar iron, copper ore, hides and skins, pot and
pearl ashes. The largest importation of commodities of the first kind
could not discourage the growth, or interfere with the sale, of any
part of the produce of the mother country. By confining them to the
home market, our merchants, it was expected, would not only be enabled
to buy them cheaper in the plantations, and consequently to sell them
with a better profit at home, but to establish between the plantations
and foreign countries an advantageous carrying trade, of which Great
Britain was necessarily to be the centre or emporium, as the European
country into which those commodities were first to be imported. The
importation of commodities of the second kind might be so managed too,
it was supposed, as to interfere, not with the sale of those of the
same kind which were produced at home, but with that of those which
were imported from foreign countries; because, by means of proper
duties, they might be rendered always somewhat dearer than the former,
and yet a good deal cheaper than the latter. By confining such
commodities to the home market, therefore, it was proposed to
discourage the produce, not of Great Britain, but of some foreign
countries with which the balance of trade was believed to be
unfavourable to Great Britain.

The prohibition of exporting from the colonies to any other country
but Great Britain, masts, yards, and bowsprits, tar, pitch, and
turpentine, naturally tended to lower the price of timber in the
colonies, and consequently to increase the expense of clearing their
lands, the principal obstacle to their improvement. But about the
beginning of the present century, in 1703, the pitch and tar company
of Sweden endeavoured to raise the price of their commodities to Great
Britain, by prohibiting their exportation, except in their own ships,
at their own price, and in such quantities as they thought proper. In
order to counteract this notable piece of mercantile policy, and to
render herself as much as possible independent, not only of Sweden,
but of all the other northern powers, Great Britain gave a bounty upon
the importation of naval stores from America; and the effect of this
bounty was to raise the price of timber in America much more than the
confinement to the home market could lower it; and as both regulations
were enacted at the same time, their joint effect was rather to
encourage than to discourage the clearing of land in America.

Though pig and bar iron, too, have been put among the enumerated
commodities, yet as, when imported from America, they are exempted
from considerable duties to which they are subject when imported front
any other country, the one part of the regulation contributes more to
encourage the erection of furnaces in America than the other to
discourage it. There is no manufacture which occasions so great a
consumption of wood as a furnace, or which can contribute so much to
the clearing of a country overgrown with it.

The tendency of some of these regulations to raise the value of timber
in America, and thereby to facilitate the clearing of the land, was
neither, perhaps, intended nor understood by the legislature. Though
their beneficial effects, however, have been in this respect
accidental, they have not upon that account been less real.

The most perfect freedom of trade is permitted between the British
colonies of America and the West Indies, both in the enumerated and in
the non-enumerated commodities Those colonies are now become so
populous and thriving, that each of them finds in some of the others a
great and extensive market for every part of its produce. All of them
taken together, they make a great internal market for the produce of
one another.

The liberality of England, however, towards the trade of her colonies,
has been confined chiefly to what concerns the market for their
produce, either in its rude state, or in what may be called the very
first stage of manufacture. The more advanced or more refined
manufactures, even of the colony produce, the merchants and
manufacturers of Great Britain chuse to reserve to themselves, and
have prevailed upon the legislature to prevent their establishment in
the colonies, sometimes by high duties, and sometimes by absolute

While, for example, Muscovado sugars from the British plantations pay,
upon importation, only 6s:4d. the hundred weight, white sugars pay
1:1:1; and refined, either double or single, in loaves, 4:2:5
8/20ths. When those high duties were imposed, Great Britain was the
sole, and she still continues to be, the principal market, to which
the sugars of the British colonies could be exported. They amounted,
therefore, to a prohibition, at first of claying or refining sugar for
any foreign market, and at present of claying or refining it for the
market which takes off, perhaps, more than nine-tenths of the whole
produce. The manufacture of claying or refining sugar, accordingly,
though it has flourished in all the sugar colonies of France, has been
little cultivated in any of those of England, except for the market of
the colonies themselves. While Grenada was in the hands of the French,
there was a refinery of sugar, by claying, at least upon almost every
plantation. Since it fell into those of the English, almost all works
of this kind have been given up; and there are at present (October
1773), I am assured, not above two or three remaining in the island.
At present, however, by an indulgence of the custom-house, clayed or
refined sugar, if reduced from loaves into powder, is commonly
imported as Muscovado.

While Great Britain encourages in America the manufacturing of pig and
bar iron, by exempting them from duties to which the like commodities
are subject when imported from any other country, she imposes an
absolute prohibition upon the erection of steel furnaces and
slit-mills in any of her American plantations. She will not suffer her
colonies to work in those more refined manufactures, even for their
own consumption; but insists upon their purchasing of her merchants
and manufacturers all goods of this kind which they have occasion for.

She prohibits the exportation from one province to another by water,
and even the carriage by land upon horseback, or in a cart, of hats,
of wools, and woollen goods, of the produce of America; a regulation
which effectually prevents the establishment of any manufacture of
such commodities for distant sale, and confines the industry of her
colonists in this way to such coarse and household manufactures as a
private family commonly makes for its own use, or for that of some of
its neighbours in the same province.

To prohibit a great people, however, from making all that they can of
every part of their own produce, or from employing their stock and
industry in the way that they judge most advantageous to themselves,
is a manifest violation of the most sacred rights of mankind. Unjust,
however, as such prohibitions may be, they have not hitherto been very
hurtful to the colonies. Land is still so cheap, and, consequently,
labour so dear among them, that they can import from the mother
country almost all the more refined or more advanced manufactures
cheaper than they could make them for themselves. Though they had not,
therefore, been prohibited from establishing such manufactures, yet,
in their present state of improvement, a regard to their own interest
would probably have prevented them from doing so. In their present
state of improvement, those prohibitions, perhaps, without cramping
their industry, or restraining it from any employment to which it
would have gone of its own accord, are only impertinent badges of
slavery imposed upon them, without any sufficient reason, by the
groundless jealousy of the merchants and manufacturers of the mother
country. In a more advanced state, they might be really oppressive and

Great Britain, too, as she confines to her own market some of the most
important productions of the colonies, so, in compensation, she gives
to some of them an advantage in that market, sometimes by imposing
higher duties upon the like productions when imported from other
countries, and sometimes by giving bounties upon their importation
from the colonies. In the first way, she gives an advantage in the
home market to the sugar, tobacco, and iron of her own colonies; and,
in the second, to their raw silk, to their hemp and flax, to their
indigo, to their naval stores, and to their building timber. This
second way of encouraging the colony produce, by bounties upon
importation, is, so far as I have been able to learn, peculiar to
Great Britain: the first is not. Portugal does not content herself
with imposing higher duties upon the importation of tobacco from any
other country, but prohibits it under the severest penalties.

With regard to the importation of goods from Europe, England has
likewise dealt more liberally with her colonies than any other nation.

Great Britain allows a part, almost always the half, generally a
larger portion, and sometimes the whole, of the duty which is paid
upon the importation of foreign goods, to be drawn back upon their
exportation to any foreign country. No independent foreign country, it
was easy to foresee, would receive them, if they came to it loaded
with the heavy duties to which almost all foreign goods are subjected
on their importation into Great Britain. Unless, therefore, some part
of those duties was drawn back upon exportation, there was an end of
the carrying trade; a trade so much favoured by the mercantile system.

Our colonies, however, are by no means independent foreign countries;
and Great Britain having assumed to herself the exclusive right of
supplying them with all goods from Europe, might have forced them (in
the same manner as other countries have done their colonies) to
receive such goods loaded with all the same duties which they paid in
the mother country. But, on the contrary, till 1763, the same
drawbacks were paid upon the exportation of the greater part of
foreign goods to our colonies, as to any independent foreign country.
In 1763, indeed, by the 4th of Geo. III. c. 15, this indulgence was a
good deal abated, and it was enacted, "That no part of the duty called
the old subsidy should be drawn back for any goods of the growth,
production, or manufacture of Europe or the East Indies, which should
be exported from this kingdom to any British colony or plantation in
America; wines, white calicoes, and muslins, excepted." Before this
law, many different sorts of foreign goods might have been bought
cheaper in the plantations than in the mother country, and some may

Of the greater part of the regulations concerning the colony trade,
the merchants who carry it on, it must be observed, have been the
principal advisers. We must not wonder, therefore, if, in a great part
of them, their interest has been more considered than either that of
the colonies or that of the mother country. In their exclusive
privilege of supplying the colonies with all the goods which they
wanted from Europe, and of purchasing all such parts of their surplus
produce as could not interfere with any of the trades which they
themselves carried on at home, the interest of the colonies was
sacrificed to the interest of those merchants. In allowing the same
drawbacks upon the re-exportation of the greater part of European and
East India goods to the colonies, as upon their re-exportation to any
independent country, the interest of the mother country was sacrificed
to it, even according to the mercantile ideas of that interest. It was
for the interest of the merchants to pay as little as possible for the
foreign goods which they sent to the colonies, and, consequently, to
get back as much as possible of the duties which they advanced upon
their importation into Great Britain. They might thereby be enabled to
sell in the colonies, either the same quantity of goods with a greater
profit, or a greater quantity with the same profit, and, consequently,
to gain something either in the one way or the other. It was likewise
for the interest of the colonies to get all such goods as cheap, and
in as great abundance as possible. But this might not always be for
the interest of the mother country. She might frequently suffer, both
in her revenue, by giving back a great part of the duties which had
been paid upon the importation of such goods; and in her manufactures,
by being undersold in the colony market, in consequence of the easy
terms upon which foreign manufactures could be carried thither by
means of those drawbacks. The progress of the linen manufacture of
Great Britain, it is commonly said, has been a good deal retarded by
the drawbacks upon the re-exportation of German linen to the American

But though the policy of Great Britain, with regard to the trade of
her colonies, has been dictated by the same mercantile spirit as that
of other nations, it has, however, upon the whole, been less illiberal
and oppressive than that of any of them.

In every thing except their foreign trade, the liberty of the English
colonists to manage their own affairs their own way, is complete. It
is in every respect equal to that of their fellow-citizens at home,
and is secured in the same manner, by an assembly of the
representatives of the people, who claim the sole right of imposing
taxes for the support of the colony government. The authority of this
assembly overawes the executive power; and neither the meanest nor the
most obnoxious colonist, as long as he obeys the law, has any thing to
fear from the resentment, either of the governor, or of any other
civil or military officer in the province. The colony assemblies,
though, like the house of commons in England, they are not always a
very equal representation of the people, yet they approach more nearly
to that character; and as the executive power either has not the means
to corrupt them, or, on account of the support which it receives from
the mother country, is not under the necessity of doing so, they are,
perhaps, in general more influenced by the inclinations of their
constituents. The councils, which, in the colony legislatures,
correspond to the house of lords in Great Britain, are not composed of
a hereditary nobility. In some of the colonies, as in three of the
governments of New England, those councils are not appointed by the
king, but chosen by the representatives of the people. In none of the
English colonies is there any hereditary nobility. In all of them,
indeed, as in all other free countries, the descendant of an old
colony family is more respected than an upstart of equal merit and
fortune; but he is only more respected, and he has no privileges by
which he can be troublesome to his neighbours. Before the commencement
of the present disturbances, the colony assemblies had not only the
legislative, but a part of the executive power. In Connecticut and
Rhode Island, they elected the governor. In the other colonies, they
appointed the revenue officers, who collected the taxes imposed by
those respective assemblies, to whom those officers were immediately
responsible. There is more equality, therefore, among the English
colonists than among the inhabitants of the mother country. Their
manners are more re publican; and their governments, those of three of
the provinces of New England in particular, have hitherto been more
republican too.

The absolute governments of Spain, Portugal, and France, on the
contrary, take place in their colonies; and the discretionary powers
which such governments commonly delegate to all their inferior
officers are, on account of the great distance, naturally exercised
there with more than ordinary violence. Under all absolute
governments, there is more liberty in the capital than in any other
part of the country. The sovereign himself can never have either
interest or inclination to pervert the order of justice, or to oppress
the great body of the people. In the capital, his presence overawes,
more or less, all his inferior officers, who, in the remoter
provinces, from whence the complaints of the people are less likely to
reach him, can exercise their tyranny with much more safety. But the
European colonies in America are more remote than the most distant
provinces of the greatest empires which had ever been known before.
The government of the English colonies is, perhaps, the only one
which, since the world began, could give perfect security to the
inhabitants of so very distant a province. The administration of the
French colonies, however, has always been conducted with much more
gentleness and moderation than that of the Spanish and Portuguese.
This superiority of conduct is suitable both to the character of the
French nation, and to what forms the character of every nation, the
nature of their government, which, though arbitrary and violent in
comparison with that of Great Britain, is legal and free in comparison
with those of Spain and Portugal.

It is in the progress of the North American colonies, however, that
the superiority of the English policy chiefly appears. The progress of
the sugar colonies of France has been at least equal, perhaps
superior, to that of the greater part of those of England; and yet the
sugar colonies of England enjoy a free government, nearly of the same
kind with that which takes place in her colonies of North America. But
the sugar colonies of France are not discouraged, like those of
England, from refining their own sugar; and what is still of greater
importance, the genius of their government naturally introduces a
better management of their negro slaves.

In all European colonies, the culture of the sugar-cane is carried on
by negro slaves. The constitution of those who have been born in the
temperate climate of Europe could not, it is supposed, support the
labour of digging the ground under the burning sun of the West Indies;
and the culture of the sugar-cane, as it is managed at present, is all
hand labour; though, in the opinion of many, the drill plough might be
introduced into it with great advantage. But, as the profit and
success of the cultivation which is carried on by means of cattle,
depend very much upon the good management of those cattle; so the
profit and success of that which is carried on by slaves must depend
equally upon the good management of those slaves; and in the good
management of their slaves the French planters, I think it is
generally allowed, are superior to the English. The law, so far as it
gives some weak protection to the slave against the violence of his
master, is likely to be better executed in a colony where the
government is in a great measure arbitrary, than in one where it is
altogether free. In ever country where the unfortunate law of slavery
is established, the magistrate, when he protects the slave,
intermeddles in some measure in the management of the private property
of the master; and, in a free country, where the master is, perhaps,
either a member of the colony assembly, or an elector of such a
member, he dares not do this but with the greatest caution and
circumspection. The respect which he is obliged to pay to the master,
renders it more difficult for him to protect the slave. But in a
country where the government is in a great measure arbitrary, where it
is usual for the magistrate to intermeddle even in the management of
the private property of individuals, and to send them, perhaps, a
lettre de cachet, if they do not manage it according to his liking, it
is much easier for him to give some protection to the slave; and
common humanity naturally disposes him to do so. The protection of the
magistrate renders the slave less contemptible in the eyes of his
master, who is thereby induced to consider him with more regard, and
to treat him with more gentleness. Gentle usage renders the slave not
only more faithful, but more intelligent, and, therefore, upon a
double account, more useful. He approaches more to the condition of a
free servant, and may possess some degree of integrity and attachment
to his master's interest; virtues which frequently belong to free
servants, but which never can belong to a slave, who is treated as
slaves commonly are in countries where the master is perfectly free
and secure.

That the condition of a slave is better under an arbitrary than under
a free government, is, I believe, supported by the history of all ages
and nations. In the Roman history, the first time we read of the
magistrate interposing to protect the slave from the violence of his
master, is under the emperors. When Vidius Pollio, in the presence of
Augustus, ordered one of his slaves, who had committed a slight fault,
to be cut into pieces and thrown into his fish-pond, in order to feed
his fishes, the emperor commanded him, with indignation, to emancipate
immediately, not only that slave, but all the others that belonged to
him. Under the republic no magistrate could have had authority enough
to protect the slave, much less to punish the master.

The stock, it is to be observed, which has improved the sugar colonies
of France, particularly the great colony of St Domingo, has been
raised almost entirely from the gradual improvement and cultivation of
those colonies. It has been almost altogether the produce of the soil
and of the industry of the colonists, or, what comes to the same
thing, the price of that produce, gradually accumulated by good
management, and employed in raising a still greater produce. But the
stock which has improved and cultivated the sugar colonies of England,
has, a great part of it, been sent out from England, and has by no
means been altogether the produce of the soil and industry of the
colonists. The prosperity of the English sugar colonies has been in a
great measure owing to the great riches of England, of which a part
has overflowed, if one may say so, upon these colonies. But the
prosperity of the sugar colonies of France has been entirely owing to
the good conduct of the colonists, which must therefore have had some
superiority over that of the English; and this superiority has been
remarked in nothing so much as in the good management of their slaves.

Such have been the general outlines of the policy of the different
European nations with regard to their colonies.

The policy of Europe, therefore, has very little to boast of, either
in the original establishment, or, so far as concerns their internal
government, in the subsequent prosperity of the colonies of America.

Folly and injustice seem to have been the principles which presided
over and directed the first project of establishing those colonies;
the folly of hunting after gold and silver mines, and the injustice of
coveting the possession of a country whose harmless natives, far from
having ever injured the people of Europe, had received the first
adventurers with every mark of kindness and hospitality.

The adventurers, indeed, who formed some of the latter establishments,
joined to the chimerical project of finding gold and silver mines,
other motives more reasonable and more laudable; but even these
motives do very little honour to the policy of Europe.

The English puritans, restrained at home, fled for freedom to America,
and established there the four governments of New England. The English
catholics, treated with much greater injustice, established that of
Maryland; the quakers, that of Pennsylvania. The Portuguese Jews,
persecuted by the inquisition, stript of their fortunes, and banished
to Brazil, introduced, by their example, some sort of order and
industry among the transported felons and strumpets by whom that
colony was originally peopled, and taught them the culture of the
sugar-cane. Upon all these different occasions, it was not the wisdom
and policy, but the disorder and injustice of the European
governments, which peopled and cultivated America.

In effectuation some of the most important of these establishments,
the different governments of Europe had as little merit as in
projecting them. The conquest of Mexico was the project, not of the
council of Spain, but of a governor of Cuba; and it was effectuated by
the spirit of the bold adventurer to whom it was entrusted, in spite
of every thing which that governor, who soon repented of having
trusted such a person, could do to thwart it. The conquerors of Chili
and Peru, and of almost all the other Spanish settlements upon the
continent of America, carried out with them no other public
encouragement, but a general permission to make settlements and
conquests in the name of the king of Spain. Those adventures were all
at the private risk and expense of the adventurers. The government of
Spain contributed scarce any thing to any of them. That of England
contributed as little towards effectuating the establishment of some
of its most important colonies in North America.

When those establishments were effectuated, and had become so
considerable as to attract the attention of the mother country, the
first regulations which she made with regard to them, had always in
view to secure to herself the monopoly of their commerce; to confine
their market, and to enlarge her own at their expense, and,
consequently, rather to damp and discourage, than to quicken and
forward the course of their prosperity. In the different ways in which
this monopoly has been exercised, consists one of the most essential
differences in the policy of the different European nations with
regard to their colonies. The best of them all, that of England, is
only somewhat less illiberal and oppressive than that of any of the

In what way, therefore, has the policy of Europe contributed either to
the first establishment, or to the present grandeur of the colonies of
America? In one way, and in one way only, it has contributed a good
deal. Magna virum mater! It bred and formed the men who were capable
of achieving such great actions, and of laying the foundation of so
great an empire; and there is no other quarter of the world; of which
the policy is capable of forming, or has ever actually, and in fact,
formed such men. The colonies owe to the policy of Europe the
education and great views of their active and enterprizing founders;
and some of the greatest and most important of them, so far as
concerns their internal government, owe to it scarce anything else.


Of the Advantages which Europe has derived From the Discovery of
America, and from that of a Passage to the East Indies by the Cape of
Good Hope.

Such are the advantages which the colonies of America have derived
from the policy of Europe.

What are those which Europe has derived from the discovery and
colonization of America?

Those advantages may be divided, first, into the general advantages
which Europe, considered as one great country, has derived from those
great events; and, secondly, into the particular advantages which each
colonizing country has derived from the colonies which particularly
belong to it, in consequence of the authority or dominion which it
exercises over them.

The general advantages which Europe, considered as one great country,
has derived from the discovery and colonization of America, consist,
first, in the increase of its enjoyments; and, secondly, in the
augmentation of its industry.

The surplus produce of America imported into Europe, furnishes the
inhabitants of this great continent with a variety of commodities
which they could not otherwise have possessed; some for conveniency
and use, some for pleasure, and some for ornament; and thereby
contributes to increase their enjoyments.

The discovery and colonization of America, it will readily be allowed,
have contributed to augment the industry, first, of all the countries
which trade to it directly, such as Spain, Portugal, France, and
England; and, secondly, of all those which, without trading to it
directly, send, through the medium of other countries, goods to it of
their own produce, such as Austrian Flanders, and some provinces of
Germany, which, through the medium of the countries before mentioned,
send to it a considerable quantity of linen and other goods. All such
countries have evidently gained a more extensive market for their
surplus produce, and must consequently have been encouraged to
increase its quantity.

But that those great events should likewise have contributed to
encourage the industry of countries such as Hungary and Poland, which
may never, perhaps, have sent a single commodity of their own produce
to America, is not, perhaps, altogether so evident. That those events
have done so, however, cannot be doubted. Some part of the produce of
America is consumed in Hungary and Poland, and there is some demand
there for the sugar, chocolate, and tobacco, of that new quarter of
the world. But those commodities must be purchased with something
which is either the produce of the industry of Hungary and Poland, or
with something which had been purchased with some part of that
produce. Those commodities of America are new values, new equivalents,
introduced into Hungary and Poland, to be exchanged there for the
surplus produce of these countries. By being carried thither, they
create a new and more extensive market for that surplus produce. They
raise its value, and thereby contribute to encourage its increase.
Though no part of it may ever be carried to America, it may be carried
to other countries, which purchase it with a part of their share of
the surplus produce of America, and it may find a market by means of
the circulation of that trade which was originally put into motion by
the surplus produce of America.

Those great events may even have contributed to increase the
enjoyments, and to augment the industry, of countries which not only
never sent any commodities to America, but never received any from it.
Even such countries may have received a greater abundance of other
commodities from countries, of which the surplus produce had been
augmented by means of the American trade. This greater abundance, as
it must necessarily have increased their enjoyments, so it must
likewise have augmented their industry. A greater number of new
equivalents, of some kind or other, must have been presented to them
to be exchanged for the surplus produce of that industry. A more
extensive market must have been created for that surplus produce, so
as to raise its value, and thereby encourage its increase. The mass of
commodities annually thrown into the great circle of European
commerce, and by its various revolutions annually distributed among
all the different nations comprehended within it, must have been
augmented by the whole surplus produce of America. A greater share of
this greater mass, therefore, is likely to have fallen to each of
those nations, to have increased their enjoyments, and augmented their

The exclusive trade of the mother countries tends to diminish, or at
least to keep down below what they would otherwise rise to, both the
enjoyments and industry of all those nations in general, and of the
American colonies in particular. It is a dead weight upon the action
of one of the great springs which puts into motion a great part of the
business of mankind. By rendering the colony produce dearer in all
other countries, it lessens its consumption, and thereby cramps the
industry of the colonies, and both the enjoyments and the industry of
all other countries, which both enjoy less when they pay more for what
they enjoy, and produce less when they get less for what they produce.
By rendering the produce of all other countries dearer in the
colonies, it cramps in the same manner the industry of all other
colonies, and both the enjoyments and the industry of the colonies. It
is a clog which, for the supposed benefit of some particular
countries, embarrasses the pleasures and encumbers the industry of all
other countries, but of the colonies more than of any other. It not
only excludes as much as possible all other countries from one
particular market, but it confines as much as possible the colonies to
one particular market; and the difference is very great between being
excluded from one particular market when all others are open, and
being confined to one particular market when all others are shut up.
The surplus produce of the colonies, however, is the original source
of all that increase of enjoyments and industry which Europe derives
from the discovery and colonization of America, and the exclusive
trade of the mother countries tends to render this source much less
abundant than it otherwise would be.

The particular advantages which each colonizing country derives from
the colonies which particularly belong to it, are of two different
kinds; first, those common advantages which every empire derives from
the provinces subject to its dominion; and, secondly, those peculiar
advantages which are supposed to result from provinces of so very
peculiar a nature as the European colonies of America.

The common advantages which every empire derives from the provinces
subject to its dominion consist, first, in the military force which
they furnish for its defence; and, secondly, in the revenue which they
furnish for the support of its civil government. The Roman colonies
furnished occasionally both the one and the other. The Greek colonies
sometimes furnished a military force, but seldom any revenue. They
seldom acknowledged themselves subject to the dominion of the mother
city. They were generally her allies in war, but very seldom her
subjects in peace.

The European colonies of America have never yet furnished any military
force for the defence of the mother country. The military force has
never yet been sufficient for their own defence; and in the different
wars in which the mother countries have been engaged, the defence of
their colonies has generally occasioned a very considerable
distraction of the military force of those countries. In this respect,
therefore, all the European colonies have, without exception, been a
cause rather of weakness than of strength to their respective mother

The colonies of Spain and Portugal only have contributed any revenue
towards the defence of the mother country, or the support of her civil
government. The taxes which have been levied upon those of other
European nations, upon those of England in particular, have seldom
been equal to the expense laid out upon them in time of peace, and
never sufficient to defray that which they occasioned in time of war.
Such colonies, therefore, have been a source of expense, and not of
revenue, to their respective mother countries.

The advantages of such colonies to their respective mother countries,
consist altogether in those peculiar advantages which are supposed to
result from provinces of so very peculiar a nature as the European
colonies of America; and the exclusive trade, it is acknowledged, is
the sole source of all those peculiar advantages.

In consequence of this exclusive trade, all that part of the surplus
produce of the English colonies, for example, which consists in what
are called enumerated commodities, can be sent to no other country but
England. Other countries must afterwards buy it of her. It must be
cheaper, therefore, in England than it can be in any other country,
and must contribute more to increase the enjoyments of England than
those of any other country. It must likewise contribute more to
encourage her industry. For all those parts of her own surplus produce
which England exchanges for those enumerated commodities, she must get
a better price than any other countries can get for the like parts of
theirs, when they exchange them for the same commodities. The
manufactures of England, for example, will purchase a greater quantity
of the sugar and tobacco of her own colonies than the like
manufactures of other countries can purchase of that sugar and
tobacco. So far, therefore, as the manufactures of England and those
of other countries are both to be exchanged for the sugar and tobacco
of the English colonies, this superiority of price gives an
encouragement to the former beyond what the latter can, in these
circumstances, enjoy. The exclusive trade of the colonies, therefore,
as it diminishes, or at least keeps down below what they would
otherwise rise to, both the enjoyments and the industry of the
countries which do not possess it, so it gives an evident advantage to
the countries which do possess it over those other countries.

This advantage, however, will, perhaps, be found to be rather what may
be called a relative than an absolute advantage, and to give a
superiority to the country which enjoys it, rather by depressing the
industry and produce of other countries, than by raising those of that
particular country above what they would naturally rise to in the case
of a free trade.

The tobacco of Maryland and Virginia, for example, by means of the
monopoly which England enjoys of it, certainly comes cheaper to
England than it can do to France to whom England commonly sells a
considerable part of it. But had France and all other European
countries been at all times allowed a free trade to Maryland and
Virginia, the tobacco of those colonies might by this time have come
cheaper than it actually does, not only to all those other countries,
but likewise to England. The produce of tobacco, in consequence of a
market so much more extensive than any which it has hitherto enjoyed,
might, and probably would, by this time have been so much increased as
to reduce the profits of a tobacco plantation to their natural level
with those of a corn plantation, which it is supposed they are still
somewhat above. The price of tobacco might, and probably would, by
this time have fallen somewhat lower than it is at present. An equal
quantity of the commodities, either of England or of those other
countries, might have purchased in Maryland and Virginia a greater
quantity of tobacco than it can do at present, and consequently have
been sold there for so much a better price. So far as that weed,
therefore, can, by its cheapness and abundance, increase the
enjoyments, or augment the industry, either of England or of any other
country, it would probably, in the case of a free trade, have produced
both these effects in somewhat a greater degree than it can do at
present. England, indeed, would not, in this case, have had any
advantage over other countries. She might have bought the tobacco of
her colonies somewhat cheaper, and consequently have sold some of her
own commodities somewhat dearer, than she actually does; but she could
neither have bought the one cheaper, nor sold the other dearer, than
any other country might have done. She might, perhaps, have gained an
absolute, but she would certainly have lost a relative advantage.

In order, however, to obtain this relative advantage in the colony
trade, in order to execute the invidious and malignant project of
excluding, as much as possible, other nations from any share in it,
England, there are very probable reasons for believing, has not only
sacrificed a part of the absolute advantage which she, as well as
every other nation, might have derived from that trade, but has
subjected herself both to an absolute and to a relative disadvantage
in almost every other branch of trade.

When, by the act of navigation, England assumed to herself the
monopoly of the colony trade, the foreign capitals which had before
been employed in it, were necessarily withdrawn from it. The English
capital, which had before carried on but a part of it, was now to
carry on the whole. The capital which had before supplied the colonies
with but a part of the goods which they wanted from Europe, was now
all that was employed to supply them with the whole. But it could not
supply them with the whole; and the goods with which it did supply
them were necessarily sold very dear. The capital which had before
bought but a part of the surplus produce of the colonies, was now all
that was employed to buy the whole. But it could not buy the whole at
any thing near the old price; and therefore, whatever it did buy, it
necessarily bought very cheap. But in an employment of capital, in
which the merchant sold very dear, and bought very cheap, the profit
must have been very great, and much above the ordinary level of profit
in other branches of trade. This superiority of profit in the colony
trade could not fail to draw from other branches of trade a part of
the capital which had before been employed in them. But this revulsion
of capital, as it must have gradually increased the competition of
capitals in the colony trade, so it must have gradually diminished
that competition in all those other branches of trade; as it must have
gradually lowered the profits of the one, so it must have gradually
raised those of the other, till the profits of all came to a new
level, different from, and somewhat higher, than that at which they
had been before.

This double effect of drawing capital from all other trades, and of
raising the rate of profit somewhat higher than it otherwise would
have been in all trades, was not only produced by this monopoly upon
its first establishment, but has continued to be produced by it ever

First, This monopoly has been continually drawing capital from all
other trades, to be employed in that of the colonies.

Though the wealth of Great Britain has increased very much since the
establishment of the act of navigation, it certainly has not increased
in the same proportion as that or the colonies. But the foreign trade
of every country naturally increases in proportion to its wealth, its
surplus produce in proportion to its whole produce; and Great Britain
having engrossed to herself almost the whole of what may be called the
foreign trade of the colonies, and her capital not having increased in
the same proportion as the extent of that trade, she could not carry
it on without continually withdrawing from other branches of trade
some part of the capital which had before been employed in them, as
well as withholding from them a great deal more which would otherwise
have gone to them. Since the establishment of the act of navigation,
accordingly, the colony trade has been continually increasing, while
many other branches of foreign trade, particularly of that to other
parts of Europe, have been continually decaying. Our manufactures for
foreign sale, instead of being suited, as before the act of
navigation, to the neighbouring market of Europe, or to the more
distant one of the countries which lie round the Mediterranean sea,
have the greater part of them, been accommodated to the still more
distant one of the colonies; to the market in which they have the
monopoly, rather than to that in which they have many competitors. The
causes of decay in other branches of foreign trade, which, by Sir
Matthew Decker and other writers, have been sought for in the excess
and improper mode of taxation, in the high price of labour, in the
increase of luxury, etc. may all be found in the overgrowth of the
colony trade. The mercantile capital of Great Britain, though very
great, yet not being infinite, and though greatly increased since the
act of navigation, yet not being increased in the same proportion as
the colony trade, that trade could not possibly be carried on without
withdrawing some part of that capital from other branches of trade,
nor consequently without some decay of those other branches.

England, it must be observed, was a great trading country, her
mercantile capital was very great, and likely to become still greater
and greater every day, not only before the act of navigation had
established the monopoly of the corn trade, but before that trade was
very considerable. In the Dutch war, during the government of
Cromwell, her navy was superior to that of Holland; and in that which
broke out in the beginning of the reign of Charles II., it was at
least equal, perhaps superior to the united navies of France and
Holland. Its superiority, perhaps, would scarce appear greater in the
present times, at least if the Dutch navy were to bear the same
proportion to the Dutch commerce now which it did then. But this great
naval power could not, in either of those wars, be owing to the act of
navigation. During the first of them, the plan of that act had been
but just formed; and though, before the breaking out of the second, it
had been fully enacted by legal authority, yet no part of it could
have had time to produce any considerable effect, and least of all
that part which established the exclusive trade to the colonies. Both
the colonies and their trade were inconsiderable then, in comparison
of what they are how. The island of Jamaica was an unwholesome desert,
little inhabited, and less cultivated. New York and New Jersey were in
the possession of the Dutch, the half of St. Christopher's in that of
the French. The island of Antigua, the two Carolinas, Pennsylvania,
Georgia, and Nova Scotia, were not planted. Virginia, Maryland, and
New England were planted; and though they were very thriving colonies,
yet there was not perhaps at that time, either in Europe or America, a
single person who foresaw, or even suspected, the rapid progress which
they have since made in wealth, population, and improvement. The
island of Barbadoes, in short, was the only British colony of any
consequence, of which the condition at that time bore any resemblance
to what it is at present. The trade of the colonies, of which England,
even for some time after the act of navigation, enjoyed but a part
(for the act of navigation was not very strictly executed till several
years after it was enacted), could not at that time be the cause of
the great trade of England, nor of the great naval power which was
supported by that trade. The trade which at that time supported that
great naval power was the trade of Europe, and of the countries which
lie round the Mediterranean sea. But the share which Great Britain at
present enjoys of that trade could not support any such great naval
power. Had the growing trade of the colonies been left free to all
nations, whatever share of it might have fallen to Great Britain, and
a very considerable share would probably have fallen to her, must have
been all an addition to this great trade of which she was before in
possession. In consequence of the monopoly, the increase of the colony
trade has not so much occasioned an addition to the trade which Great
Britain had before, as a total change in its direction.

Secondly, This monopoly has necessarily contributed to keep up the
rate of profit, in all the different branches of British trade, higher
than it naturally would have been, had all nations been allowed a free
trade to the British colonies.

The monopoly of the colony trade, as it necessarily drew towards that
trade a greater proportion of the capital of Great Britain than what
would have gone to it of its own accord, so, by the expulsion of all
foreign capitals, it necessarily reduced the whole quantity of capital
employed in that trade below what it naturally would have been in the
case of a free trade. But, by lessening the competition of capitals in
that branch of trade, it necessarily raised the rate of profit in that
branch. By lessening, too, the competition of British capitals in all
other branches of trade, it necessarily raised the rate of British
profit in all those other branches. Whatever may have been, at any
particular period since the establishment of the act of navigation,
the state or extent of the mercantile capital of Great Britain, the
monopoly of the colony trade must, during the continuance of that
state, have raised the ordinary rate of British profit higher than it
otherwise would have been, both in that and in all the other branches
of British trade. If, since the establishment of the act of
navigation, the ordinary rate of British profit has fallen
considerably, as it certainly has, it must have fallen still lower,
had not the monopoly established by that act contributed to keep it

But whatever raises, in any country, the ordinary rate of profit
higher than it otherwise would be, necessarily subjects that country
both to an absolute, and to a relative disadvantage in every branch of
trade of which she has not the monopoly.

It subjects her to an absolute disadvantage; because, in such branches
of trade, her merchants cannot get this greater profit without selling
dearer than they otherwise would do, both the goods of foreign
countries which they import into their own, and the goods of their own
country which they export to foreign countries. Their own country must
both buy dearer and sell dearer; must both buy less, and sell less;
must both enjoy less and produce less, than she otherwise would do.

It subjects her to a relative disadvantage; because, in such branches
of trade, it sets other countries, which are not subject to the same
absolute disadvantage, either more above her or less below her, than
they otherwise would be. It enables them both to enjoy more and to
produce more, in proportion to what she enjoys and produces. It
renders their superiority greater, or their inferiority less, than it
otherwise would be. By raising the price of her produce above what it
otherwise would be, it enables the merchants of other countries to
undersell her in foreign markets, and thereby to justle her out of
almost all those branches of trade, of which she has not the monopoly.

Our merchants frequently complain of the high wages of British labour,
as the cause of their manufactures being undersold in foreign markets;
but they are silent about the high profits of stock. They complain of
the extravagant gain of other people; but they say nothing of their
own. The high profits of British stock, however, may contribute
towards raising the price of British manufactures, in many cases, as
much, and in some perhaps more, than the high wages of British labour.

It is in this manner that the capital of Great Britain, one may justly
say, has partly been drawn and partly been driven from the greater
part of the different branches of trade of which she has not the
monopoly; from the trade of Europe, in particular, and from that of
the countries which lie round the Mediterranean sea.

It has partly been drawn from those branches of trade, by the
attraction of superior profit in the colony trade, in consequence of
the continual increase of that trade, and of the continual
insufficiency of the capital which had carried it on one year to carry
it on the next.

It has partly been driven from them, by the advantage which the high
rate of profit established in Great Britain gives to other countries,
in all the different branches of trade of which Great Britain has not
the monopoly.

As the monopoly of the colony trade has drawn from those other
branches a part of the British capital, which would otherwise have
been employed in them, so it has forced into them many foreign
capitals which would never have gone to them, had they not been
expelled from the colony trade. In those other branches of trade, it
has diminished the competition of British capitals, and thereby raised
the rate of British profit higher than it otherwise would have been.
On the contrary, it has increased the competition of foreign capitals,
and thereby sunk the rate of foreign profit lower than it otherwise
would have been. Both in the one way and in the other, it must
evidently have subjected Great Britain to a relative disadvantage in
all those other branches of trade.

The colony trade, however, it may perhaps be said, is more
advantageous to Great Britain than any other; and the monopoly, by
forcing into that trade a greater proportion of the capital of Great
Britain than what would otherwise have gone to it, has turned that
capital into an employment, more advantageous to the country than any
other which it could have found.

The most advantageous employment of any capital to the country to
which it belongs, is that which maintains there the greatest quantity
of productive labour, and increases the most the annual produce of the
land and labour of that country. But the quantity of productive labour
which any capital employed in the foreign trade of consumption can
maintain, is exactly in proportion, it has been shown in the second
book, to the frequency of its returns. A capital of a thousand pounds,
for example, employed in a foreign trade of consumption, of which the
returns are made regularly once in the year, can keep in constant
employment, in the country to which it belongs, a quantity of
productive labour, equal to what a thousand pounds can maintain there
for a year. If the returns are made twice or thrice in the year, it
can keep in constant employment a quantity of productive labour, equal
to what two or three thousand pounds can maintain there for a year. A
foreign trade of consumption carried on with a neighbouring, is, upon
that account, in general, more advantageous than one carried on with a
distant country; and, for the same reason, a direct foreign trade of
consumption, as it has likewise been shown in the second book, is in
general more advantageous than a round-about one.

But the monopoly of the colony trade, so far as it has operated upon
the employment of the capital of Great Britain, has, in all cases,
forced some part of it from a foreign trade of consumption carried on
with a neighbouring, to one carried on with a more distant country,
and in many cases from a direct foreign trade of consumption to a
round-about one.

First, The monopoly of the colony trade has, in all cases, forced
some part of the capital of Great Britain from a foreign trade of
consumption carried on with a neighbouring, to one carried on with a
more distant country.

It has, in all cases, forced some part of that capital from the trade
with Europe, and with the countries which lie round the Mediterranean
sea, to that with the more distant regions of America and the West
Indies; from which the returns are necessarily less frequent, not only
on account of the greater distance, but on account of the peculiar
circumstances of those countries. New colonies, it has already been
observed, are always understocked. Their capital is always much less
than what they could employ with great profit and advantage in the
improvement and cultivation of their land. They have a constant
demand, therefore, for more capital than they have of their own; and,
in order to supply the deficiency of their own, they endeavour to
borrow as much as they can of the mother country, to whom they are,
therefore, always in debt. The most common way in which the colonies
contract this debt, is not by borrowing upon bond of the rich people
of the mother country, though they sometimes do this too, but by
running as much in arrear to their correspondents, who supply them
with goods from Europe, as those correspondents will allow them. Their
annual returns frequently do not amount to more than a third, and
sometimes not to so great a proportion of what they owe. The whole
capital, therefore, which their correspondents advance to them, is
seldom returned to Britain in less than three, and sometimes not in
less than four or five years. But a British capital of a thousand
pounds, for example, which is returned to Great Britain only once in
five years, can keep in constant employment only one-fifth part of the
British industry which it could maintain, if the whole was returned
once in the year; and, instead of the quantity of industry which a
thousand pounds could maintain for a year, can keep in constant
employment the quantity only which two hundred pounds can maintain for
a year. The planter, no doubt, by the high price which he pays for the
goods from Europe, by the interest upon the bills which he grants at
distant dates, and by the commission upon the renewal of those which
he grants at near dates, makes up, and probably more than makes up,
all the loss which his correspondent can sustain by this delay. But,
though he make up the loss of his correspondent, he cannot make up
that of Great Britain. In a trade of which the returns are very
distant, the profit of the merchant may be as great or greater than in
one in which they are very frequent and near; but the advantage of the
country in which he resides, the quantity of productive labour
constantly maintained there, the annual produce of the land and
labour, must always be much less. That the returns of the trade to
America, and still more those of that to the West Indies, are, in
general, not only more distant, but more irregular and more uncertain,
too, than those of the trade to any part of Europe, or even of the
countries which lie round the Mediterranean sea, will readily be
allowed, I imagine, by everybody who has any experience of those
different branches of trade.

Secondly, The monopoly of the colony trade, has, in many cases,
forced some part of the capital of Great Britain from a direct foreign
trade of consumption, into a round-about one.

Among the enumerated commodities which can be sent to no other market
but Great Britain, there are several of which the quantity exceeds
very much the consumption of Great Britain, and of which, a part,
therefore, must be exported to other countries. But this cannot be
done without forcing some part of the capital of Great Britain into a
round-about foreign trade of consumption. Maryland, and Virginia, for
example, send annually to Great Britain upwards of ninety-six thousand
hogsheads of tobacco, and the consumption of Great Britain is said not
to exceed fourteen thousand. Upwards of eighty-two thousand hogsheads,
therefore, must be exported to other countries, to France, to Holland,
and, to the countries which lie round the Baltic and Mediterranean
seas. But that part of the capital of Great Britain which brings those
eighty-two thousand hogsheads to Great Britain, which re-exports them
from thence to those other countries, and which brings back from those
other countries to Great Britain either goods or money in return, is
employed in a round-about foreign trade of consumption; and is
necessarily forced into this employment, in order to dispose of this
great surplus. If we would compute in how many years the whole of this
capital is likely to come back to Great Britain, we must add to the
distance of the American returns that of the returns from those other
countries. If, in the direct foreign trade of consumption which we
carry on with America, the whole capital employed frequently does not
come back in less than three or four years, the whole capital employed
in this round-about one is not likely to come back in less than four
or five. If the one can keep in constant employment but a third or a
fourth part of the domestic industry which could be maintained by a
capital returned once in the year, the other can keep in constant
employment but a fourth or a fifth part of that industry. At some of
the outports a credit is commonly given to those foreign
correspondents to whom they export them tobacco. At the port of
London, indeed, it is commonly sold for ready money: the rule is Weigh
and pay. At the port of London, therefore, the final returns of the
whole round-about trade are more distant than the returns from
America, by the time only which the goods may lie unsold in the
warehouse; where, however, they may sometimes lie long enough. But,
had not the colonies been confined to the market of Great Britain for
the sale of their tobacco, very little more of it would probably have
come to us than what was necessary for the home consumption. The goods
which Great Britain purchases at present for her own consumption with
the great surplus of tobacco which she exports to other countries, she
would, in this case, probably have purchased with the immediate
produce of her own industry, or with some part of her own
manufactures. That produce, those manufactures, instead of being
almost entirely suited to one great market, as at present, would
probably have been fitted to a great number of smaller markets.
Instead of one great round-about foreign trade of consumption, Great
Britain would probably have carried on a great number of small direct
foreign trades of the same kind. On account of the frequency of the
returns, a part, and probably but a small part, perhaps not above a
third or a fourth of the capital which at present carries on this
great round-about trade, might have been sufficient to carry on all
those small direct ones; might have kept inconstant employment an
equal quantity of British industry; and have equally supported the
annual produce of the land and labour of Great Britain. All the
purposes of this trade being, in this manner, answered by a much
smaller capital, there would have been a large spare capital to apply
to other purposes; to improve the lands, to increase the manufactures,
and to extend the commerce of Great Britain; to come into competition
at least with the other British capitals employed in all those


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