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1.

BOOK“ shillings the broad yard.” In the 3d of

Edward IV. two shillings contained very near-
ly the same quantity of silver as four of our
present money. But the Yorkshire cloth which
is now fold at four shillings the yard, is probably
much superior to any that was then made for
the wearing of the very poorest order of common
fervants. Even the money price of their cloth-
ing, therefore, may, in proportion to the quai
lity, be somewhat cheaper in the present than it
was in those ancient times. The real price is
certainly a good deal cheaper. Ten-pence was
then reckoned what is called the moderate and
reasonable price of a bushel of wheat. Two
shillings, therefore, was the price of two bushels
and near two pecks of wheat, which in the
present times, at three shillings and fixpence
the bushel, would be worth eight shillings and
nine-pence. For a yard of this cloth the poor
servant must have parted with the
chasing a quantity of fubfiftence equal to what
eight shillings and nine-pence would purchase in
the present times. This is a fumptuary law too,
reftraining the luxury and extravagance of the
poor. Their clothing, therefore, had commonly
been much more expensive.

The fame order of people are, by the same law, prohibited from wearing hose, of which the price should exceed fourteen-pence the pair, equal to about eight-and-twenty pence of our present money. But fourteen-pence was in those times the price of a bushel and near two pecks of wheat; which, in the present times, at three and

fixpence

power of

of pur

XI.

fixpence the bushel, would cost five shillings and C HAP. three-pence. We should in the present times consider this as a very high price for a pair of stockings to a servant of the poorest and lowest order. He must, however, in those times have paid what was really equivalent to this price for them. i In the time of Edward IV. the art of knitting stockings was probably not known in any part of Europe. Their hose were made of common cloth, which may have been one of the causes of their dearness. The first person that wore stockings in England is said to have been Queen Elizabeth, She received them as a present from the Spanish ambassador.

Both in the coarse and in the fine woollen manufacture, the machinery employed was much more imperfect in those ancient, than it is in the present times. It has since received three very capital improvements, besides, probably, many smaller ones of which it may be difficult to ascertain either the number or the importance. The three capital improvements are: first, The exchange of the rock and spindle for the fpin. ning-wheel, which, with the same quantity of labour, will perform more than double the quan. tity of work. Secondly, the use of several very ingenious machines which facilitate and abridge in a still greater proportion the winding of the worsted and woollen yarn, or the proper arrangement of the warp and woof before they are put into the loom ; an operation which, preҫс 3

vious

BOOK vious to the invention of those machines, must I.

have been extremely tedious and troublesome. Thirdly, The employment of the fulling mill for thickening the cloth, instead of treading it in water. Neither wind nor water mills of any kind were known in England so early as the beginning of the fixteenth century, nor, fo far as I know, in any other part of Europe north of the Alps. They had been introduced into Italy some time before.

The confideration of these circumstances may, perhaps, in some measure explain to us why the real price both of the coarse and of the fine manufacture, was so much higher in those ancient, than it is in the present times. It cost a greater quantity of labour to bring the goods to market, When they were brought thither, therefore, they must have purchased or exchanged for the price of a greater quantity.

The coarse manufacture probably was, in those ancient times, carried on in England, in the same manner as it always has been in countries where arts and manufactures are in their in fancy. It was probably a houshold manufacture, in which every different part of the work was occasionally performed by all the different members of almost every private family; but so as to be their work only when they had nothing else to do, and not to be the principal business from which

any

of them derived the greater part of their fubfiftence. The work which is performed in this manner, it has already been observed,

comes

XI.

comes always much cheaper to market than that c HA P. which is the principal or fole fund of the work, man's fubfiftence, The fine manufacture, on the other hand, was not in those times carried on in England, but in the rich and commercial country of Flanders; and it was probably conducted then, in the same manner as now, by people who derived the whole, or the principal part of their fubfiftence from it. It was besides a foreign manufacture, and muft have paid fome duty, the ancient custom of tonnage and poundage at least, to the King. This duty, indeed, would not probably be very great. It was not then the policy of Europe to restrain, by high duties, the importation of foreign manufactures, but rather to encourage it, in order that mer. chants might be enabled to fupply, at as easy a rate as possible, the great men with the conveniencies and luxuries which they wanted, and which the industry of their own country could not afford them.

The confideration of these circumstances may perhaps in some measure explain to us why, in those ancient times, the real price of the coarse manufacture was, in proportion to that of the fine, so much lower than in the present times,

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BOOK

I.

CONCLUSION OF THE CHAPTER.

I

observing, that every improvement in the cir. cumstances of the fociety tends either directly or indirectly to raise the real rent of land, to in. crease the real wealth of the landlord, his power of purchasing the labour, or the produce of the labour of other people.

The extension of improvement and cultivation tends to raise it directly. The landlord's share of the produce necessarily increases with the increase of the produce.

That rise in the real price of those parts of the rude produce of land, which is first the effect of extended improvement and cultivation, and afterwards the cause of their being still further extended, the rise in the price of cattle, for example, tends too to raise the rent of land di. rectly, and in a still greater proportion. The real value of the landlord's share, his real command of the labour of other people, not only rises with the real value of the produce, but the proportion of his share to the whole produce rises with it. That produce, after the rise in its real price, requires no more labour to collect it than before, A smaller proportion of it will, therefore, be sufficient to replace, with the ordinary profit, the stock which employs that labour. A greater proportion of it must, consequently, belong to the landlord.

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