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HE First Edition of the following Work

was printed in the end of the year 1775, and in the beginning of the year 1776. Through the greater part of the Book, therefore, whenever the present state of things is mentioned, it is to be understood of the state they were in, either about that time, or at fome earlier period, during the time I was employed in writing the Book. To the Third Edition, however, I have made several additions, particularly to the chapter upon Drawbacks, and to that upon Bounties; likewise a new chapter entitled, The Conclusion of the Mercantile System ; and a new article to the chapter upon the expences of the Sovereign. In all these additions, the present state of things means always the state in which they were during the year 1783 and the beginning of the year 1784.




N this Fourth Edition I have made no alIN

terations of any kind. I now, however, find myself at liberty to acknowledge my very great obligations to Mr. HENRY HOPE of Amsterdam. To that Gentleman I owe the most distinct, as well as liberal information, concerning a very interesting and important fubject, the Bank of Amsterdam; of which no printed account had ever appeared to me satisfactory, or even intelligible. The name of that Gentleman is so well known in Europe, the information which comes from him must do so much honour to whoever has been favoured with it, and my vanity is so much interested in making this acknowledgement, that I can no longer refuse myself the pleasure of prefixing this Advertisement to this new Edition of my



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THE 'HE annual labour of every nation is the Introduct.

fund which originally supplies it with all the neceffaries and conveniences of life which it annually consumes, and which consist always either in the immediate produce of that labour, or in what is purchased with that produce from other nations.

According therefore, as this produce, or what is purchased with it, bears a greater or smaller proportion to the number of those who are to consume it, the nation will be better or worse fupplied with all the necessaries and conveniencies for which it has occasion.

But this proportion must in every nation be regulated by two different circumstances ; first, by the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which




Introduct. its labour is generally applied; and, secondly,

by the proportion between the number of those who are employed in useful labour, and that of those who are not so employed. Whatever be the foil, climate, or extent of territory of any particular nation, the abundance or scantinefs of its annual fupply muft, in that particular situation, depend upon those two circumstances.

The abundance or fcantiness of this supply too seems to depend more upon the former of those two circumstances than upon the latter. Among the favage nations of hunters and fishers, every individual who is able to work, is more or less employed in ufeful labour, and endeavours to provide, as well as he can, the necessaries and conveniences of life, for himself, or such of his family or tribe as are either too old, or too young, or too infirm to go a hunting and fishing. Such nations, however, are so miserably poor, that from mere want, they are frequently reduced, or, at least, think themselves reduced, to the necessity sometimes of directly destroying, and sometimes of abandoning their infants, their old people, and those afflicted with lingering diseafes, to perish with hunger, or to be devoured by wild beasts. Among civilized and thriving nations, on the contrary, though a great number of people do not labour at all, many of whom confume the produce of ten times, frequently of a hundred times more labour than the greater part of those who work; yet the produce of the whole labour of the fociety is so great, that all are often abundantly supplied, and a workman,

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