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cloath mankind ! He rears flax and hemp for the mak. ing of linen ; while his plantations of apples and hops supply him with generous kinds of liquors.
The land-tax, when at four fhillings in the pound, produces 2,000,000 pounds a year. This arises from the labour of the husbandman : it is a great sum: but how greatly is it increased by the means it furnishes for trade? Without the industry of the Farmer, the maufacturer could have no goods to supply the merchant, nor the merchant find any employment for the mariners : trade would be stagnated; riches would be of no advantage to the great ; and labour of no service to the poor.
The Romans, as historians all allow,
A T my last visit, I took the liberty of mentionH ing a subject, which, I think, is not considered with attention proportionate to its importance. Nothing can more fully prove the ingratitude of mankind, a crime often charged upon them, and often denied, than the little regard which the disposers of ho. norary rewards have paid to Agriculture ; which is treated as a subject fo remote from common life, by all those who do not immediately hold the plough, or give fodder to the ox, that I think there is room to question, whether a great part of mankind has yet been informed that life is sustained by the fruits of the earth. I was once indeed provoked to ask a lady of great eminence for genius, Whether the knew of what bread is made?
I have already observed, how differently Agriculture was considered by the heroes and wise men of the Roman commonwealth, and shall now only add, that even after the emperors had made great alteration in the system of life, and taught men to portion out their
• From the Visiter, for March 1756, p. 111.
esteem to other qualities than usefulness, Agriculture fill maintained its reputation, and was taught by the polite and elegant Celfus among the other arts.
The usefulness of Agriculture I have already shewn; I Mall now, therefore, prove its necessity: and having before declared, that it produces the chief riches of a nation, I shall proceed to shew, that it gives its only riches, the only riches which we can call our own, and of which we need not fear either deprivation or diminution.
Of nations, as of individuals, the first blessing is independence. Neither the man nor the people can be happy to whom any human power can deny the necessaries or conveniencies of life. There is no way of living without the need of foreign assistance, but by the product of our own land, improved by our own labour. Every other source of plenty is perishable or casual. · Trade and manufactures must be confeffed often to enrich countries; and we ourselves are indebted to them for those ships by which we now command the sea, from the equator to the poles, and for those sums with which we have shewn ourselves able to arın the nations of the north in defence of regions in the western hemisphere. But trade and manufactures, however profitable, must yield to the cultivation of lands in usefulness and dignity.
Commerce, however we may please ourselves with the contrary opinion, is one of the daughters of fortune, inconstant and deceitful as her mother; she chutes her residence where the is leait expected, and Ihifts her abode, when her continuance is in appearthe Genoese, when read of the
ance most firmly settled. Who can read of the present distresses of the Genoese, whose only choice now remaining is, from what monarch they mall folicit protection ? Who can see the Hanseatick towns in ruins, where perhaps the inhabitants do not always equal the number of the houses; but he will say to himfelf, These are the cities, whose trade enabled them once to give laws to the world, to whole merchants princes sent their jewels in pawn, from whose treasuries armies were paid, and navies supplied! And who can then forbear to consider trade as a weak and uncertain basis of power, and wish to his own country greatness more solid, and felicity more durable ?
It is apparent, that every trading nation flourishes, while it can be said to flourish, by the courtesy of others. We cannot compel any people to buy from us, or to sell to us. A thousand accidents may prejudice them in favour of our rivals; the workmen of another nation may labour for less price, or some accidental improvement, or natural advantage, may procure a just preference to their commodities; as experience has fhewn, that there is no work of the hands, which, at different times, is not best performed in different places.
Traffick, even while it continues in its state of profperity, must owe its success to Agriculture; the materials of manufacture are the produce of the earth. The wool which we weave into cloth, the wood which is formed into cabinets, the metals which are forged into weapons, are supplied by nature with the help of art. Manufactures, indeed, and profitable manufactures, are sometimes raised froin imported
materials, materials, but then we are subjected a second time to the caprice of our neighbours. The natives of Lombardy might easily resolve to retain their filk at home, and employ workmen of their own to weave it. And this will certainly be done when they grow wife and industrious, when they have sagacity to discern their true interest, and vigour to purlue it.
Mines are generally confidered as the great sources of wealth, and superficial observers have thought the poffeffion of great quantities of precious metals the first national happiness. But Europe has long seen, with wonder and contempt, the poverty of Spain, who thought himlelf exempted from the labour of tilling the ground, by the conquest of Peru, with its veins of silver. Time, however, has taught even this obstinate and haughty nation, that without Agriculture they may indeed be the transmitters of money, but can never be the poffeffors. They may dig it out of the earth, but muft immediately lend it away to purchale cloth or bread, and it must at last remain with some people wife enough to sell much, and to buy little; to live upon their own lands, without a wish for those things which nature has denied them.
Mines are themselves of no use, without some kind of Agriculture. We have, in our own country, inexhaustible stores of iron, which lie useless in the ore for want of wood. It was never the design of Providence to feed man without his own concurrence: we have from nature only what we cannot provide for ourselves; she gives us wild fruits which art must meliorate, and drofly metals, which labour must refine.