The landlords who have only small estates usually reside in market towns and villages near their land and farmers. The transport of the produce they derive from them into distant cities would not enable them to live comfortably there. But the landlords who have several large estates have the means to go and live at a distance from them to enjoy agreeable society with other landowners and gentlemen of the same condition. If a prince or nobleman who has received large grants of land on the conquest or discovery of a country fixes his residence in some pleasant spot, and several other noblemen come to live there to be within reach of seeing each other frequently and enjoying agreeable society, this place will become a city. Great houses will be built there for the noblemen in question, and an infinity of others for the merchants, artisans, and people of all sorts of professions whom the residence of these noblemen will attract thither. For the service of these noblemen, bakers, butchers, brewers, wine merchants, manufacturers of all kinds, will be needed. These will build houses in the locality or will rent houses built by others. There is no great nobleman whose expense upon his house, his retinue and servants, does not maintain merchants and artisans of all kinds, as may be seen from the detailed calculations which I have caused to be made in the supplement of this essay. As all these artisans and undertakers serve each other as well as the nobility it is overlooked that the upkeep of them all falls ultimately on the nobles and landowners. It is not perceived that all the little houses in a city such as we have described depend upon and subsist at the expense of the great houses. It will, however, be shown later that all the classes and inhabitants of a state live at the expense of the proprietors of land. The city in question will increase still further if the king or the government establish in it law courts to which the people of the market towns and villages of the province must have recourse. An increase of undertakers and artisans of every sort will be needed for the service of the legal officials and lawyers. If in this same city workshops and manufactories be set up apart from home consumption for export and sale abroad, the city will be large in proportion to the workmen and artisans who live there at the expense of the foreigner. But if we put aside these considerations so as not to complicate our subject, we may say that the assemblage of several rich landowners living together in the same place suffices to form what is called a city, and that many cities in Europe, in the interior of the country, owe the number of their inhabitants to this assemblage: in which case the size of a city is naturally proportioned to the number of landlords who live there, or rather to the produce of the land which belongs to them after deduction of the cost of carriage to those whose land is the furthest removed, and the part which they are obliged to furnish to the king or the government, which is usually consumed in the capital.
A capital city is formed in the same way as a provincial city with this difference that the largest landowners in all the state reside in the capital, that the king or supreme government is fixed in it and spends there the government revenue, that the supreme courts of justice are fixed there, that it is the centre of the fashions which all the provinces take for a model, that the landowners who reside in the provinces do not fail to come occasionally to pass some time in the capital and to send their children thither to be polished. Thus all the lands in the state contribute more or less to maintain those who dwell in the capital. If a sovereign quits a city to take up his abode in another the nobility will not fail to follow him and to make its residence with him in the new city which will become great and important at the expense of the first. We have seen quite a recent example of this in the city of Petersburg to the disadvantage of Moscow, and one sees many old cities which were important fall into ruin and others spring from their ashes. Great cities are usually built on the seacoast or on the banks of large rivers for the convenience of transport; because water carriage of the produce and merchandise necessary for the subsistence and comfort of the inhabitants is much cheaper than carriages and land transport.
The Labour of the Husbandman is of less Value than that of the Handicrafts Man
A labourer's son at seven or twelve years of age begins to help his father either in keeping the flocks, digging the ground, or in other sorts of country labour which require no art or skill. If his father puts him to a trade he loses his assistance during the time of his apprenticeship and is necessitated to clothe him and to pay the expenses of his apprenticeship for some years. The son is thus an expense to this father and his labour brings in no advantage till the end of some years. The [working] life of man is estimated but at 10 or 12 years, and as several are lost in learning a trade most of which in England require seven years of apprenticeship, a husbandman would never be willing to have a trade taught to his son if the mechanics did not earn more than the husbandmen. Those who employ artisans or craftsmen must needs therefore pay for their labour at a higher rate than for that of a husbandman or common labourer; and their labour will necessarily be dear in proportion to the time lost in learning the trade and the cost and risk incurred in becoming proficient. The craftsmen themselves do not make all their children learn their own mystery: there would be too many of them for the needs of a city or a state; many would not find enough work; the work, however, is naturally better paid than that of husbandmen.
Some Handicrafts Men earn more, others less, according to the different Cases and Circumstances
Supposing two tailors make all the cloths of a village, one may have more customers than the other, whether from his mode of attracting business, or because he works better or more durably than the other, or follows the fashions better in the cut of the garments. If one dies, the other finding himself more pressed with work will be able to raise the price of his labour, giving some customers a preference in point of expedition to others, till the villagers find it to their advantage to have their cloths made in another village, town or city losing the time spent in going and returning, or till some other tailor comes to live in their village and to share in the business of it. The crafts which require the most time in training or most ingenuity and industry must necessarily be the best paid. A skillful cabinet maker must receive a higher price for his work than an ordinary carpenter, and a good watchmaker more than a farrier. The arts and crafts which are accompanied by risks and dangers like those of founders, mariners, silver miners, etc. ought to be paid in proportion to the risks. When over and above the dangers skill is needed they ought to be paid still more, e.g. pilots, divers, engineers, etc. When capacity and trustworthiness are needed the labour is paid still more highly, as in the case of jewellers, bookkeepers, cashiers and others. By these examples and a hundred others drawn from ordinary experience it is easily seen that the difference of price paid for daily work is based upon natural and obvious reasons.
The Number of Labourers, Handicraftsmen and others, who work in a State is naturally proportioned to the Demand for them
If all the labourers in a village breed up several sons to the same work there will be too many labourers to cultivate the lands belonging to the village, and the surplus adults must go to seek a livelihood elsewhere, which they generally do in cities: if some remain with their fathers, as they will not all find sufficient employment they will live in great poverty and will not marry for lack of means to bring up children, or if they marry, the children who come will soon die of starvation with their parents, as we see every day in France. Therefore if the village continue in the same situation as regards employment, and derives its living from cultivating the same portion of land, it will not increase in population in a thousand years. The women and girls of this village can, it is true, when they are not working in the fields, busy themselves in spinning, knitting or other work which can be sold in the cities; but this rarely suffices to bring up the extra children, who leave the village to seek their fortune elsewhere. The same may be said of the tradesmen of a village. If a tailor makes all the cloths there and breeds up three sons to the same trade, as there is but work enough for one successor to him the two others must go to seek their livelihood elsewhere: if they do not find enough employment in the neighbouring town they must go further afield or change their occupations to get a living and become lackeys, soldiers, sailors, etc. By the same process of reasoning it is easy to conceive that the labourers, handicraftsmen and others who gain their living by work, must proportion themselves in number to the employment and demand for them in market towns and cities. But if four tailors are enough to make all the cloths for a town and a fifth arrives he may attract some custom at the expense of the other four; so if the work is divided between the five tailors neither of them will have enough employment, and each one will live more poorly. It often happens that labourers and handicraftsmen have not enough employment when there are too many of them to share the business. It happens also that they are deprived of work by accidents and by variations in demand, or that they are overburdened with work according to circumstances. Be that as it may, when they have no work they quit the villages, towns or cities where they live in such numbers that those who remain are always proportioned to the employment which suffices to maintain them; when there is a continuous increase of work there is gain to be made and enough others arrive to share in it. From this it is easy to understand that the Charity Schools in England and the proposals in France to increase the number of handicraftsmen, are useless. If the King of France sent 100,000 of his subjects at his expense into Holland to learn seafaring, they would be of no use on their return if no more vessels were sent to sea than before. It is true that it would be a great advantage to a state to teach its subjects to produce the manufactures which are customarily drawn from abroad, and all the other articles bought there, but I am considering only at present a state in relation to itself. As the handicraftsmen earn more than the labourers they are better able to bring up their children to crafts; and there will never be a lack of craftsmen in a state when there is enough work for their constant employment.