Imágenes de páginas


BOO K than sufficient, not only to maintain all the la.

bour neceffary for tending them, and to pay the ordinary profit to the farmer or owner of the herd or flock; but to afford some small rent to the landlord. The rent increases in proportion to the goodness of the pasture. The same extent of ground not only maintains a greater number of cattle, but as they are brought within a smaller compass, lefs labour becomes requisite to tend them, and to collect their produce. The landlord gains both ways; by the increase of the produce, and by the diminution of the labour which must be maintained out of it.

The rent of land not only varies with its fertility, whatever be its produce, but with its fituation, whatever be its fertility. Land in the neighbourhood of a town gives a greater rent than land equally fertile in a diftant part of the country. Though it may coft no more labour to cultivate the one than the other, it muft always cost more to bring the produce of the diftant land to market. A greater quantity of labour, therefore, must be maintained out of it; and the surplus, from which are drawn both the profit of the farmer and the rent of the landlord, must be diminished. But in remote parts of the country the rate of profits, as has already been shown, is generally higher than in the neighbourhood of a large town. A smaller proportion of this diminished surplus, therefore, must belong to the landlord.

Good roads, canals, and navigable rivers, by diminishing the expence of carriage, put the



remote parts of the country more nearly upon a C HA P. level with those in the neighbourhood of the town. They are upon that account the greatest of all improvements. They encourage the cultivation of the remote, which must always be the most extensive circle of the country. They are advantageous to the town, by breaking down the monopoly of the country in its neighbourhood. They are advantageous even to that part of the country. Though they introduce some rival commodities into the old market, they open many new markets to its produce. Monopoly, besides, is a great enemy to good management, which can never be universally established but in confequence of that free and universal competition which forces every body to have recourse to it for the sake of self-defence. It is not more than fifty years ago, that some of the counties in the neighbourhood of London petitioned the parliament against the extension of the turnpike roads into the remoter counties. Those remoter counties, they pretended, from the cheapness of labour, would be able to sell their grass and corn cheaper in the London market than themselves, and would thereby reduce their rents, and ruin their cultivation. Their rents, however, have risen, and their cultivation has been improved fince that time.

A corn field of moderate fertility produces a much greater quantity of food for man, than the best pasture of equal extent. Though its cultivation requires much more labour, yet the furplus which remains after replacing the feed and

Q 3



BOO K maintaining all that labour, is likewise much

greater. If a pound of butcher's-meat, therefore, was never fupposed to be worth more than a pound of bread, this greater surplus would every-where be of greater value, and constitute a greater fund both for the profit of the farmer and the rent of the landlord. It seems to have done fo universally in the rude beginnings of agriculture.

But the relative values of those two different species of food, bread, and butcher's-meat, are very different in the different periods of agriculture. In its rude beginnings,

beginnings, the unimproved wilds, which then occupy the far greater part of the country, are all abandoned to cattle. There is more butcher's-meat than bread, and bread, therefore, is the food for which there is the greatest competition, and which consequently brings the greatest price. At Buenos Ayres, we are told by Ulloa, four reals, one-and-twenty pence halfpenny sterling, was, forty or fifty years ago, the ordinary price of an ox, chosen from a herd of two or three hundred. He fays nothing of the price of bread, probably because he found nothing remarkable about it. An ox there, he says, costs little more than the labour of catching him. But corn can no-where be raised without a great deal of labour, and in a country which lies upon the river Plate, at that time the direct road from Europe to the silver mines of Potofi, the money price of labour could not be very cheap. It is otherwise when cultivation is extended over the greater part of the country.

There There is then more bread than butcher's-meat. CHA P.

XI. The competition changes its direction, and the price of butcher's-meat becomes greater than the price of bread.

By the extension besides of cultivation, the unimproved wilds become insufficient to supply the demand for butcher's-meat. A great part of the cultivated lands must be employed in rearing and fattening cattle, of which the price, therefore, must be sufficient to pay, not only the labour neceffary for tending them, but the rent which the landlord and the profit which the farmer could have drawn from such land employed in tillage. The cattle bred upon the most uncultivated moors, when brought to the same market, are, in proportion to their weight or goodness, fold at the same price as those which are reared upon the most improved land. The proprietors of those moors profit by it, and raise the rent of their land in proportion to the price of their cattle. It is not more than a century ago that in many parts of the Highlands of Scotland, butcher's-meat was as cheap or cheaper than even bread made of oat-meal. The union opened the market of England to the Highland cattle. Their ordinary price is at present about three times greater than at the beginning of the century, and the rents of many Highland estates have been tripled and quadrupled in the same time. In almost every part of Great Britain a pound of the best butcher's-meat, is in the present times, generally worth more than two pounds of the best white bread; and in




years to

BOOK plentiful years it is sometimes worth three or four


It is thus that in the progress of improvement the rent and profit of unimproved pasture come to be regulated in some measure by the rent and profit of what is improved, and these again by the rent and profit of corn. Corn is an annual crop. Butcher's-meat, a crop which requires four or five

to grow. As an acre of land, therefore, will produce a much smaller quantity of the one fpecies of food than of the other, the inferiority of the quantity must be compensated by the superiority of the price. If it was more than compensated, more corn land would be turned into pasture; and if it was not compenfated, part of what was in pasture would be brought back into corn.

This equality, however, between the rent and profit of grass and those of corn; of the land of which the immediate produce is food for cattle, and of that of which the immediate produce is food for men ; must be understood to take place only through the greater part of the improved lands of a great country.

In some particular local fituations it is quite otherwise, and the rent and profit of grafs are much superior to what can be made by corn.

Thus in the neighbourhood of a great town, the demand for milk and for forage to horses, frequently contribute, together with the high price of butcher's meat, to raise the value of grass above what may be called its natural proportion to that of corn, This local advantage,

« AnteriorContinuar »