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An Inquiry Into The Nature And Causes Of The Wealth Of Nations - Chapter 7, Part 2

1. Introduction And Plan Of The Work

2. Book 1, Chapter 1

3. Chapter 2

4. Chapter 3

5. Chapter 4

6. Chapter 5

7. Chapter 6

8. Chapter 7

9. Chapter 8

10. Chapter 8 continue

11. Chapter 9

12. Chapter 10

13. Chapter 10 continue

14. Chapter 11

15. Chapter 11 continue

16. Chapter 11 continue.

17. Chapter 11 continue..

18. Chapter 11 continue...

19. Conclusion of the Chapter 11

20. Book 2 Introduction

21. Chapter 1

22. Chapter II

23. Chapter II continue

24. Chapter II continue

25. Chapter 3

26. Chapter 4

27. Chapter 5

28. Book 3, Chapter 1

29. Chapter 2

30. Chapter 3

31. Chapter 4

32. Book 4, Chapter 1

33. Chapter 1 continue

34. Chapter 2

35. Chapter 3, Part 1

36. Chapter 3, Part 2

37. Chapter 4

38. Chapter 5

39. Chapter 5 continue

40. Chapter 6

41. Chapter 7, Part 1

42. Chapter 7, Part 2

43. Chapter 7, Part 3

44. Chapter 7, Part 3 continue

45. Chapter 8

46. Chapter 9

47. Book 5, Chapter 1, Part 1

48. Chapter 1, Part 2

49. Chapter 1, Part 3

50. Chapter 1, Part 3 continue

51. Chapter 1, Part 3 continue B

52. Chapter 1, Part 4

53. Chapter 2, Part 1

54. Chapter 2, Part 2

55. Chapter 2, Part 2 continue

56. Chapter 2, Part 2 continue B

57. Chapter 2, Part 2 continue C

58. Chapter 2, Part 2 continue D

59. Chapter 3

60. Chapter 3 continue

PART II. Causes of the Prosperity of New Colonies.

The colony of a civilized nation which takes possession either of a
waste country, or of one so thinly inhabited that the natives easily
give place to the new settlers, advances more rapidly to wealth and
greatness than any other human society.

The colonies carry out with them a knowledge of agriculture and of other
useful arts, superior to what can grow up of its own accord, in the
course of many centuries, among savage and barbarous nations. They
carry out with them, too, the habit of subordination, some notion of the
regular government which takes place in their own country, of the system
of laws which support it, and of a regular administration of justice;
and they naturally establish something of the same kind in the new
settlement. But among savage and barbarous nations, the natural progress
of law and government is still slower than the natural progress of arts,
after law and government have been so far established as is necessary
for their protection. Every colonist gets more land than he can possibly
cultivate. He has no rent, and scarce any taxes, to pay. No landlord
shares with him in its produce, and, the share of the sovereign is
commonly but a trifle. He has every motive to render as great as
possible a produce which is thus to be almost entirely his own. But his
land is commonly so extensive, that, with all his own industry, and
with all the industry of other people whom he can get to employ, he
can seldom make it produce the tenth part of what it is capable of
producing. He is eager, therefore, to collect labourers from all
quarters, and to reward them with the most liberal wages. But those
liberal wages, joined to the plenty and cheapness of land, soon make
those labourers leave him, in order to become landlords themselves, and
to reward with equal liberality other labourers, who soon leave them for
the same reason that they left their first master. The liberal reward
of labour encourages marriage. The children, during the tender years
of infancy, are well fed and properly taken care of; and when they are
grown up, the value of their labour greatly overpays their maintenance.
When arrived at maturity, the high price of labour, and the low price
of land, enable them to establish themselves in the same manner as their
fathers did before them.

In other countries, rent and profit eat up wages, and the two superior
orders of people oppress the inferior one; but in new colonies, the
interest of the two superior orders obliges them to treat the inferior
one with more generosity and humanity, at least where that inferior
one is not in a state of slavery. Waste lands, of the greatest natural
fertility, are to be had for a trifle. The increase of revenue which
the proprietor, who is always the undertaker, expects from their
improvement, constitutes his profit, which, in these circumstances,
is commonly very great; but this great profit cannot be made, without
employing the labour of other people in clearing and cultivating the
land; and the disproportion between the great extent of the land and the
small number of the people, which commonly takes place in new colonies,
makes it difficult for him to get this labour. He does not, therefore,
dispute about wages, but is willing to employ labour at any price. The
high wages of labour encourage population. The cheapness and plenty of
good land encourage improvement, and enable the proprietor to pay those
high wages. In those wages consists almost the whole price of the land;
and though they are high, considered as the wages of labour, they
are low, considered as the price of what is so very valuable. What
encourages the progress of population and improvement, encourages that
of real wealth and greatness.

The progress of many of the ancient Greek colonies towards wealth and
greatness seems accordingly to have been very rapid. In the course of
a century or two, several of them appear to have rivalled, and even to
have surpassed, their mother cities. Syracuse and Agrigentum in Sicily,
Tarentum and Locri in Italy, Ephesus and Miletus in Lesser Asia, appear,
by all accounts, to have been at least equal to any of the cities of
ancient Greece. Though posterior in their establishment, yet all the
arts of refinement, philosophy, poetry, and eloquence, seem to have been
cultivated as early, and to have been improved as highly in them as
in any part of the mother country The schools of the two oldest Greek
philosophers, those of Thales and Pythagoras, were established, it is
remarkable, not in ancient Greece, but the one in an Asiatic, the other
in an Italian colony. All those colonies had established themselves in
countries inhabited by savage and barbarous nations, who easily gave
place to the new settlers. They had plenty of good land; and as they
were altogether independent of the mother city, they were at liberty to
manage their own affairs in the way that they judged was most suitable
to their own interest.

The history of the Roman colonies is by no means so brilliant. Some of
them, indeed, such as Florence, have, in the course of many ages, and
after the fall of the mother city, grown up to be considerable states.
But the progress of no one of them seems ever to have been very rapid.
They were all established in conquered provinces, which in most cases
had been fully inhabited before. The quantity of land assigned to
each colonist was seldom very considerable, and, as the colony was not
independent, they were not always at liberty to manage their own affairs
in the way that they judged was most suitable to their own interest.

In the plenty of good land, the European colonies established in America
and the West Indies resemble, and even greatly surpass, those of ancient
Greece. In their dependency upon the mother state, they resemble those
of ancient Rome; but their great distance from Europe has in all of them
alleviated more or less the effects of this 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 thriving.

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

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

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

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

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 different.

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 prohibited.

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

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 prohibitions.

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 insupportable.

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 still.

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 colonies.

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 rest.

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.

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