All Classes and Individuals in a State subsist or are enriched at the Expense of the Proprietors of Land
There are none but the prince and the proprietors of land who live independent; all other classes and inhabitants are hired or are undertakers. The proof and detail of this will be developed in the next chapter. If the prince and proprietors of land close their estates and will not suffer them to be cultivated it is clear that there would be neither food nor rayment for any of the inhabitants; consequently all the individuals are supported not only by the produce of the land which is cultivated for the benefit of the owners but also at the expense of these same owners from whose property they derive all that they have. The farmers have generally two thirds of the produce of the land, one for their costs and the support of their assistants, the other for the profit of their undertaking: on these two thirds the farmer provides generally directly or indirectly subsistence for all those who live in the country, and also mechanics or undertakers in the city in respect of the merchandise of the city consumed in the country. The proprietor has usually one third of the produce of his land and on this third he maintains all the mechanics and others whom he employs in the city as well, frequently, as the carriers who bring the produce of the country to the city. It is generally calculated that one half of the inhabitants of a kingdom subsist and make their abode in cities, and the other half live in the country; on this supposition the farmer who has two thirds or four sixth of the produce of the land, pays either directly or indirectly one sixth to the citizens in exchange for the merchandise which he takes from them. This sixth with the one third or two sixths which the proprietor spends in the city makes three sixths or one half of the produce of the land. This calculation is only to convey a general idea of the proportion; but in fact, if half of the inhabitants live in the cities they consume more than half of the land's produce, as they live better than those who reside in the country and spend more of the produce of the land being all mechanics or dependents of the proprietors and consequently better maintained than the assistants and dependents of the farmers. But let this matter be how it will, if we examine the means by which an inhabitant is supported it will always appear in returning back to the fountain head, that these means arise from the land of the proprietor either in the two thirds reserved by the farmer, or the one third which remains to the landlord. If a proprietor had only the amount of land which he lets out to one farmer the farmer would get a better living out of it than himself; but the nobles and large landowners in the cities have sometimes several hundreds of farmers and are themselves very few in number in proportion to all the inhabitants of a state. True there are often in the cities several undertakers and mechanics who live by foreign trade, and therefore at the expense of foreign landowners: but at present I am considering only a state in regard to its own produce and industry, not to complicate my argument by accidental circumstances. The land belongs to the proprietors but would be useless to them if it were not cultivated. The more labour is expended on it, other things being equal, the more it produces; and the more its products are worked up, other things being equal, the more value they have as merchandise. Hence the proprietors have need of the inhabitants as these have of the proprietors; but in this economy it is for the proprietors, who have the disposition and the direction of the landed capital, to give the most advantageous turn and movement to the whole. Also everything in a state depends on the fancy, methods, and fashions of life of the proprietors of land in especial, as I will endeavour to make clear later in this essay. It is need and necessity which enable farmers, mechanics of every kind, merchants, officers, soldiers, sailors, domestic servants and all the other classes who work or are employed in the state, to exist. All these working people serve not only the prince and the landowners but each other, so that there are many of them who do not work directly for the landowners, and so it is not seen that they subsist on the capital of these proprietors and live at their expense. As for those who exercise professions which are not essential, like dancers, actors, painters, musicians, etc. they are only supported in the state for pleasure or for ornament, and their number is always very small in proportion to the other inhabitants.
The circulation and exchange of goods and merchandise as well as their production are carried on in Europe by Undertakers, and at a risk
The farmer is an undertaker who promises to pay to the landowner, for his farm or land, a fixed sum of money (generally supposed to be equal in value to the third of the produce) without assurance of the profit he will derive from this enterprise. He employs part of the land to feed flocks, produce corn, wine, hay, etc. according to his judgment without being able to foresee which of these will pay best. The price of these products will depend partly on the weather, partly on the demand; if corn is abundant relatively to consumption it will be dirt cheap, if there is scarcity it will be dear. Who can foresee the increase or reduction of expense which may come about in the families? And yet the price of the farmer's produce depends naturally upon these unforeseen circumstances, and consequently he conducts the enterprise of his farm at an uncertainty. The city consumes more than half the farmer's produce. He carries it to market there or sells it in the market of the nearest town, or perhaps a few individuals set up as carriers themselves. These bind themselves to pay the farmer a fixed price for his produce, that of the market price of the day, to get in the city an uncertain price which should however defray the cost of carriage and leave them a profit. But the daily variation in the price of produce in the city, though not considerable, makes their profit uncertain. The undertaker or merchant who carries the products of the country to the city cannot stay there to sell retail as they are consumed. No city family will burden itself with the purchase all at once of the produce it may need, each family being susceptible of increase or decrease in number and in consumption or at least varying in the choice of produce it will consume. Wine is almost the only article of consumption stocked in a family. In any case the majority of citizens who live from day to day and yet are the largest consumers cannot lay in a stock of country produce. For this reason many people set up in a city as merchants or undertakers, to buy the country produce from those who bring it or to order it to be brought on their account. They pay a certain price following that of the place where they purchase it, to resell wholesale or retail at an uncertain price. Such undertakers are the wholesalers in woo and corn, bakers, butchers, manufacturers and merchants of all kinds who buy country produce and materials to work them up and resell them gradually as the inhabitants require them. These undertakers can never know how great will be the demand in their city, nor how long their customers will buy of them since their rivals will try all sorts of means to attract customers from them. All this causes so much uncertainty among these undertakers that every day one sees some of them become bankrupt. The manufacturer who has bought wool from the merchant or direct from the farmer cannot foretell the profit he will make in selling his cloths and stuffs to the merchant tailor. If the latter have not a reasonable sale he will not load himself with the cloths and stuffs of the manufacturer, especially if those stuffs cease to be in the fashion. The draper is an undertaker who buys cloths and stuffs from the manufacturer at a certain price to sell them again at an uncertain price, because he cannot foresee the extent of the demand. He can of course fix a price and stand out against selling unless he gets it, but if his customers leave him to buy cheaper from another, he will be eaten up by expenses while waiting to sell at the price he demands, and that will ruin him as soon as or sooner than if he sold without profit. Shopkeepers and retailers of every kind are undertakers who buy at a certain price and sell in their shops or the markets at an uncertain price. What encourages and maintains these undertakers in a state is that the consumers who are their customers prefer paying a little more to get what they want ready to hand in small quantities rather than lay in a stock and that most of them have not the means to lay in such a stock by buying at first hand. All these undertakers become consumers and customers one in regard to the other, the draper of the wine merchant and vice versa. They proportion themselves in a state to the customers or consumption. If there are too many hatters in a city or in a street for the number of people who buy hats there, some who are least patronised must become bankrupt: if they be too few it will be a profitable undertaking which will encourage new hatters to open shops there and so it is that the undertakers of all kinds adjust themselves to risks in a state. All the other undertakers like those who take charge of mines, theatres, building, etc., the merchants by sea and land, etc., cook-shop keepers, pastry cooks, innkeepers, etc. as well as the undertakers of their own labour who need no capital to establish themselves, like journeymen artisans, coppersmiths, needlewomen, chimney sweeps, water carriers, live at uncertainty and proportion themselves to their customers. Master craftsmen like shoemakers, tailors, carpenters, wigmakers, etc. who employ journeymen according to the work they have, live at the same uncertainty since their customers may foresake them from one day to another: the undertakers of their own labour in art and science, like painters, physicians, lawyers, etc. live in the like uncertainty. If one attorney or barristers earn 5000 pounds sterling yearly in the service of his clients or in his practice and another earn only 500 they may be considered as having so much uncertain wages from those who employ them. It may perhaps be urged that undertakers seek to snatch all they can in their calling and to get the better of their customers, but this is outside my subject. By all these inductions and many others which might be made in a topic relating to all the inhabitants of a state, it may be laid down that expect the prince and the proprietors of land, all the inhabitants of a state are dependent; that they can be divided into two classes, undertakers and hired people; and that all the undertakers are as it were on unfixed wages and the others on wages fixed so long as they receive them though their functions and ranks may be very unequal. The general who has his pay, the courtier his pension and the domestic servant who has wages all fall into this last class. All the rest are undertakers, whether they set up with a capital to conduct their enterprise, or are undertakers of their own labour without capital, and they may be regarded as living at uncertainty; the beggars even and the robbers are undertakers of this class. Finally all the inhabitants of a state derive their living and their advantages from the property of the landowners and are dependent. It is true, however, that if some person on high wages or some large undertaker has saved capital or wealth, that is if he have stores of corn, wool, copper, gold, silver or some produce or merchandise in constant use or vent in a state, having an intrinsic or a real value, he may be justly considered independent so far as this capital goes. He may dispose of it to acquire a mortgage, and interest from land and from public loans secured upon land: he may live still better than the small landowners and even buy the property of some of them. But produce and merchandise, even gold and silver, are much more subject to accident and loss than the ownership of land; and however one may have gained or saved them they are always derived from the land of actual proprietors either by gain or by saving of the wages destined for one's subsistence. The number of proprietors of money in a large state is often considerable enough; and though the value of all the money which circulates in the state barely exceeds the ninth or tenth part of the value of the produce drawn from the soil yet, as the proprietors of money lend considerable amounts for which they receive interest either by mortgage or the produce and merchandise of the state, the sums due to them usually exceed all the money in the state, and they often become so powerful a body that they could in certain cases rival the proprietors of lands if these last were not often equally proprietors of money, and if the owners of large sums of money did not always seek to become landowners themselves. It is nevertheless always true that all the sums gained or saved have been drawn from the land of the actual proprietors; but as many of these ruin themselves daily in a state and the others who acquire the property of their land take their place, the independence given by the ownership of land applies only to those who keep the possession of it; and as all land has always that it is from their property that all the inhabitants of the state derive their living and all their wealth. If these proprietors confined themselves to living on their rents it would be beyond question, and in that case it would be much more difficult for the other inhabitants to enrich themselves at their expense. I will then lay it down as a principle that the proprietors of land alone are naturally independent in a state: that all the other classes are dependent whether undertakers or hired, and that all the exchange and circulation of the state is conducted by the medium of these undertakers.
The Fancies, the Fashions, and the Modes of Living of the Prince, and especially of the Landowners, determine the use to which Land is put in a State and cause the variations in the Market price of all things
If the owner of a large estate (which I wish to consider here as if there were no other in the world) has it cultivated himself he will follow his fancy in the use of which he will put it. (1) He will necessarily use part of it for corn to feed the labourers, mechanics and overseers who work for him, another part to feed the cattle, sheep and other animals necessary for their clothing and food or other commodities according to the way in which he wishes to maintain them. (2) He will turn part of the land into parks, gardens, fruit trees or vines as he feels inclined and into meadows for the horses he will use for his pleasure, etc. Let us now suppose that to avoid so much care and trouble he makes a bargain with the overseers of the labourers, gives them farms or pieces of land and leaves to them the responsibility for maintaining in the usual manner all the labourers they supervise, so that the overseers, now become farmers or undertakers, give the labourers for working on the land or farm another third of the produce for their food, clothing and other requirements, such as they had when the owner employed them; suppose further that the owner makes a bargain with the overseers of the mechanics for the food and other things that he gave them, that he makes the overseers become master craftsmen, fixes a common measure, like silver, to settle the price at which the farmers will supply them with wood and they will supply him with cloth, and that the prices are such as to give the master craftsmen the same advantages and enjoyments as they had when overseers, and the journeymen mechanics will be settled by the day or by the piece: the merchandise which they have made, hats, stockings, shoes, clothes, etc. will be sold to the landowner, the farmers, the labourers, and the other mechanics reciprocally at a price which leaves to all of them the same advantages as before; and the farmers will sell, at a proportionate price, their produce and raw material. It will then come to pass that the overseers become undertakers, will be the absolute masters of those who work under them, and will have more care and satisfaction in working on their own account. We suppose than that after this change all the people on this large estate live just as they did before, and so all the portions and farms of this great estate will be put to the same use as it formerly was. For if some of the farmers sowed more corn than usual they must feed fewer sheep, and have less wool and mutton to sell. Then there will be too much corn and too little wool for the consumption of the inhabitants. Wool will therefore be dear, which will force the inhabitants to wear their clothes longer than usual, and there will be too much corn and a surplus for the next year. As we suppose that the landowner has stipulated for the payment in silver of the third of the produce of the farm to be paid to him, the farmers who have too much corn and too little wool, will not be able to pay him his rent. If he excuses them they will take care the next year to have less corn and more wool, for farmers always take care to use their land for the production of those things which they think will fetch the best price at market. If, however, next year they have too much wool and too little corn for the demand, they will not fail to change from year to year the use of the land till they arrive at proportioning their production pretty well to the consumption of the inhabitants. So a farmer who has arrived at about the proportion of consumption will have part of his farm in grass, for hay, another for corn, wool and so on, and he will not change his plan unless he sees some considerable change in the demand; but in this example we have supposed that all the people live in the same way as when the landowner cultivated the land for himself, and consequently the farmers will employ the land for the same purposes as before. The owner, who has at his disposal the third of the produce of the land, is the principal agent in the changes which may occur in demand. Labourers and mechanics who live from day to day change their mode of living only from necessity. If a few farmers, master craftsmen or other undertakers in easy circumstances vary their expense and compensation they always take as their model the lords and owners of the land. They imitate them in their clothing, meals, and mode of life. If the landowners please to wear fine linen, silk, or lace, the demand for these merchandises will be greater than that of the proprietors for themselves. If a lord or owner who has let out all his lands to farm, take the fancy to change considerably his mode of living; if for instance he decreases the number of his domestic servants and increases the number of his horses: not only will his servants be forced to leave the estate in question but also a proportionate number of artisans and of labourers who worked to maintain them. The portion of land which was used to maintain these inhabitants will be laid down to grass for the new horses, and if all landowners in the state did the like they would soon increase the number of horses and diminish the number of men. When a landowner has dismissed a great number of domestic servants, and increased the number of his horses, there will be too much corn for the needs of the inhabitants, and so the corn will be cheap and the hay dear. In consequence the farmers will increase their grass land and diminish their corn to proportion it to the demand. In this way the fancies or fashions of landowners determine the use of the land and bring about the variations of demand which cause the variations of market prices. If all the landowners of a state cultivated their own estates they would use them to produce what they want; and as the variations of demand are chiefly caused by their mode of living the prices which they offer in the market decide the farmers to all the changes which they make in the employment and use of the land. I do not consider here the variations in market prices which may arise from the good or bad harvest of the year, or the extraordinary consumption which may occur from foreign troops or other accidents, so as not to complicate my subject, considering only a state in its natural and uniform condition.
The Increase and Decrease of the Number of People in a State chiefly depend on the taste, the fashions, and the modes of living of the proprietors of land
Experience shows that trees, plants and other vegetables can be increased to any quantity which the extent of ground laid out for them can support. The same experience shows that all kinds of the animal creation are to be multiplied to any quantity which the land allotted to them can support. Horses, cattle, sheep can easily be multiplied up to the number that the land will support. The fields which serve for this support may be improved by irrigation as in Milan. Hay may be saved and cattle fed in sheds and raised in larger numbers than if they were left in the fields. Sheep may be fed on turnips, as in England, by which means an acre of land will go further for their nourishment than if it were pasture. In a word, we can multiply all sorts of animals in such numbers as we wish to maintain even to infinity if we could find lands to infinity to to nourish them; and the multiplication of animals has no other bounds than the greater or less means allotted for their subsistence. It is not to be doubted that if all land were devoted to the simple sustenance of man the race would increase up to the number that the land would support in the manner to be explained. There is no country where population is carried to a greater height than in China. The common people are supported by rice and rice water; they work almost naked and in the southern provinces they have three plentiful harvests of rice yearly, thanks to their great attention to agriculture. The land is never fallow and yields a hundredfold every year. Those who are clothed have generally clothing of cotton, which needs so little land for its production that an acre of land, it seems, is capable of producing a quantity full sufficient for the clothing of five hundred grown up persons. The Chinese by the principles of their religion are obliged to marry, and bring up as many children as their means of subsistence will afford. They look upon it as a crime to lay land out in pleasure gardens or parks, defrauding the public of maintenance. They carry travellers in sedan chairs, and save the work of horses upon all tasks which can be performed by men. Their number is incredible if the relation of voyages is to be depended upon, yet they are forced to destroy many of their children in the cradle when they apprehend themselves not to be able to bring them up, keeping only the number they are able to support. By hard and indefatigable labour they draw from the rivers an extraordinary quantity of fish and from the land all that is possible. Nevertheless when bad years come they starve in thousands in spite of the care of the emperor who stores rice for such contingencies. Numerous then as the people of China are, they are necessarily proportioned to their means of living and do not exceed the number the country can support according to their standard of life; and on this footing a single acre of land will support many of them. On the other hand there is no country where the increase of population is more limited than among the savages in the interior parts of America. They neglect agriculture, live in woods, and on the wild beasts they find there. As their forests destroy the sweetness and substance of the earth there is little pasture for animals, and since an Indian eats several animals in a year, 50 or 100 acres supply only enough food for a single Indian. A small tribe of these Indians will have 40 square leagues for its hunting ground. The wage regular and bitter wars over these boundaries, and always proportion their numbers to their means of support from the chase. The European cultivate the land and draw corn from it for their subsistence. The wool and draw corn from it for their subsistence. The wool of their sheep provides them with clothing. Wheat is the grain on which most of them are fed, but some peasants make their bread of rye, and in the north of barley and oats. The food of the peasants and the people is not the same in all countries of Europe, and land is often different in quality and fertility. Most of the land in Flanders and part of that in Lombardy yields 18 to 20 fold without lying idle; the Campagna of Naples yields still more. There are a few properties in France, Spain, England and Germany which yield the same amount. Cicero tells us that the land of Sicily in his time yielded tenfold, and the elder Pliny says that the Leontine lands in Sicily yielded a hundred fold, those of Babylon a hundred and fifty, and some African lands a good deal more. Today land in Europe yields on the average six times what is sown, so that five times the seed remains for the consumption of the people. Land usually rests one year in three, producing wheat the first year and barley the second. In the supplement will be found estimates of the amount of land required for the support of a man according to the different assumptions of his manner of living. It will be seen that a man who lives on bread, garlic and roots, wears only hempen garments, coarse linen, wooden shoes, and drinks only water, like many peasants in the south of France, can live on the produce of an acre and a half of land of medium goodness, yielding a sixfold harvest and resting once in 3 years. On the other hand a grown-up man who wears leather shoes, stockings, woollen cloth, who lives in a house and has a change of linen, a bed, chairs, table, and other necessaries, drinks moderately of beer or wine, eats every day meat, butter, cheese, bread, vegetables, etc. sufficiently and yet moderately needs for all that the produce of 4 to 5 acres of land of medium quality. It is true that in these estimates nothing is allowed for the food of horses except for the plough and carriage of produce for ten miles. History records that the first Romans each maintained his family on two journaux of land, equal to one Paris acre and 330 square feet or thereabouts. They were almost naked, had no wine or oil, lay in the straw, and had hardly any comforts, but as they cultivated intensely the land, which is fairly good around Rome, they drew from it plenty of corn and of vegetables. If the proprietors of land had at heart the increase of population, if they encouraged the peasants to marry young and bring up children by promising to provide them with subsistence, devoting their land entirely to that purpose, they would doubtless increase the population up to the point which the land could support, according to the produce they allotted for each person whether an acre and a half or four to five acres a head. But if instead of that the prince, or the proprietors of land, cause the land to be used for other purposes than the upkeep of the people: if by the prices they offer in the market for produce and merchandise they determine the farmers to employ the land for other purposes than the maintenance of man (for we have seen that the prices they offer in the market and their consumption determine the use made of the land just as if they cultivated it themselves) the people will necessarily diminish in number. Some will be forced to leave the country for lack of employment, others not seeing the necessary means of raising children, will not marry or will only marry late, after having put aside somewhat for the support of the household. If the proprietors of land who live in the country go to reside in the cities far away from their land, horses must be fed for the transport into the city both of their food and that of all the domestic servants, mechanics and others whom their residence in the city attracts thither. The carriage of wine from Burgundy to Paris often costs more than the wine itself costs in Burgundy; and consequently the land employed for the upkeep of the cart horses and those who look after them is more considerable than the land which produces the wine and supports those who have taken part in its production. The more horses there are in a state the less food will remain for the people. The upkeep of carriage horses, hunters, or chargers, often takes three or four acres of land. But when the nobility and proprietors of land draw from foreign manufactures their cloths, silks, laces, etc. and pay for them by sending to the foreigner their native produce they diminish extraordinary the food of the people and increase that of foreigners who often become enemies of the state. If a proprietor or nobleman in Poland, to whom his farmers pay yearly a rent equal to about one third of the produce of his land, pleases to use the cloths, linens, etc. of Holland, he will pay for these mechandises one half of the rent he receives and perhaps use the other half for the subsistence of his family on other products and rough manufactures of Poland: but half his rent, on our supposition, corresponds to the sixth part of the produce of his land, and this sixth part will be carried away by the Dutch to whom the farmers of Poland will deliver it in corn, wool, hemp and other produce. Here is then a sixth part of the land of Poland withdrawn from its people, to say nothing of the feeding of the cart horses, carriage horses and chargers in Poland, maintained by the manner of living of the nobility there. Further if out of the two thirds of the produce of the land allotted to the farmers there last imitating their masters consume foreign manufactures which they will also pay foreigners for in raw produce of Poland, there will be a good third of the produce of the land in Poland abstracted from the food of the people, and, what is worse, mostly sent to the foreigner and often serving to support the enemies of the state. If the proprietors of land and the nobility in Poland would consume only the manufactures of their own state, bad as they might be at the outset, they would soon become better, and would keep a great number of their own people to work there, instead of giving this advantage to foreigners: and if all states had the like care not to be the dupes of other states in matters of commerce, each state would be considerable only in proportion to its produce and the industry of its people. If the ladies of Paris are pleased to wear Brussels lace, and if France pays for this lace with Champagne wine, the product of a single acre of flax must be paid for with the product of 16,000 acres of land under vines, if my calculations are correct. This will be more fully explained elsewhere and the figures are shown in the supplement. Suffice to say here that in this transaction a great amount of produce of the land is withdrawn from the subsistence of the French, and that all the produce sent abroad, unless an equally considerable amount of produce be brought back in exchange, tends to diminish the number of people in the state. When I said that the proprietors of land might multiply the population as far as the land would support them, I assumed that most men desire nothing better than to marry if they are set in a position to keep their families in the same style as they are content to live themselves. That is, if a man is satisfied with the produce of an acre and a half of land he will marry if the is sure of having enough to keep his family in the same way. But if he is only satisfied with the produce of five to ten acres he will be in on hurry to marry unless he thinks he can bring up his family in the same manner. In Europe the children of the nobility are brought up in affluence; and as the largest share of the property is usually given to the eldest sons, the younger sons are in no hurry to marry. They usually live as bachelors, either in the army or in the cloisters, but will seldom be fond unwilling to marry if they are offered heiresses and fortunes, or the means of supporting a family on the footing which they have in view and without which they would consider themselves to make their children wretched. In the lower classes of the state also there are men who from pride and from reasons similar to those of the nobility, prefer to live in celibacy and to spend on themselves the little that they have rather than settle down in family life. But most of them would gladly set up a family if they could count upon keeping it up as they would wish: they would consider themselves to do an injustice to their children if they brought them up to fall into a lower class than themselves. Only a few men in a state avoid marriage from sheer flightiness. All the lower orders wish to live and bring up children who can live like themselves. When labourers and mechanics do not marry it is because they wait till they save something to enable them to set up a household or to find some young woman who brings a little capital for that purpose, since they see every day others like them who for lack of such precaution start housekeeping and fall into the most frightful poverty, being obliged to deprive themselves of their own food to nourish their children. From the observations of Mr Halley, at Breslaw in Silesia, it is found that of all the females capable of child bearing, from 16 to 45 years of age, not one in six actually bears a child every year, while, says Mr Halley, there ought to be at least 4 or 6 who should have children every year, without including those who are barren or have still births. The reason why four women out of six do not bear children every year is that they cannot marry because of the discouragements and difficulties in their way. A young woman takes care not to become a mother if she is not married; she cannot marry unless she finds a man who is ready to run the risk of it. Most of the people in a state are hired or are undertakers; most are dependent and live in uncertainty whether they will find by their labour or their undertakings the means of supporting their household on the footing they have in view. Therefore they do not all marry, or marry so late that of six women, or at least four, who should produce a child every year there is actually only one in six who becomes a mother. If the proprietors of land help to support the families, a single generation suffices to push the increase of population as far as the produce of the land will supply means of subsistence. Children do not require so much of this produce as grown-up persons. Both can live on more or less according to their consumption. The northern people, where the land produces little, have been known to live on so little produce that they have sent out colonists and swarms of men to invade the lands of the south and destroy its inhabitants to appropriate their land. According to the different manner of living, 400,000 people might subsist on the same produce of the land which ordinarily supports but 100,000. A man who lives upon the produce of an acre and a half of land, may be stronger and stouter than he who spends the produce of five or ten acres; it therefore seems pretty clear that the number of inhabitants of a state depends on the means allotted them of obtaining their support; and as this means of subsistence arises from the method of cultivating the soil, and this method depends chiefly on the taste, humours and manner of living of the proprietors of land, the increase and decrease of population also stand on the same foundation. The increase of population can be carried furthest in the countries where the people are content to live the most poorly and to consume the least produce of the soil. In countries where all the peasants and labourers are accustomed to eat meat and drink wine, beer, etc. so many inhabitants cannot be supported. Sir William Petty, and after him Mr Davenant, Inspector of the Customs in England, seem to depart from nature when they try to estimate the propagation of the race by progressive generations from Adam, the first father. Their calculations seem to be purely imaginary and drawn up at hazard. On the basis of what they have seen of the actual birth rate in certain districts, how could they explain the decrease of those innumerable people formerly found in Asia, Egypt, etc. and even in Europe? If seventeen centuries ago there were 26 millions of people in Italy, now reduced to 6 million at most, how can it be determined by the progressions of Mr King that England which today contains 5 or 6 millions of inhabitants will probably have 13 millions in a certain number of years? We see daily that Englishmen, in general, consume more of the produce of the land than their fathers did, and this is the real reason why there are fewer inhabitants than in the past. Men multiply like mice in a barn if they have unlimited means of subsistence; and the English in the colonies will become more numerous in proportion in three generations than they would be in thirty in England, because in the colonies they find for cultivation new tracts of land from which they drive the savages. In all countries at all times men have waged wars for the land and the means of subsistence. When wars have destroyed or diminished the population of a country, the savages and civilised nations soon repopulate in in times of peace; especially when the prince and the proprietors of land lend their encouragement. A state which has conquered several provinces may, by tribute imposed on the vanquished, acquire an increase of subsistence for its own people. The Romans drew a great part of their subsistence from Egypt, Sicily and Africa and that is why Italy then contained so many inhabitants. A state where mines are found, having manufactures which do not require much of the produce of the land to send them into foreign countries, and drawing from them in exchange plentiful merchandise and produce of the land, acquires an increased fund for the subsistence of its subjects. The Dutch exchange their labour in navigation, fishing or manufactures principally with foreigners, for the products of their land. Otherwise Holland could not support of itself its population. England buys from abroad considerable amounts of timber, hemp and other materials or products of the soil and consumes much wine for which she pays in minerals, manufactures, etc. That saves the English a great quantity of the products of their soil. Without these advantages the people of England, on the footing of the expense of living there, could not be so numerous as they are. The coal mines save them several millions of acres of land which would otherwise be needed to grow timber. But all these advantages are refinements and exceptional cases which I mention only incidentally. The natural and constant way of increasing population in a state is to find employment for the people there, and to make the land serve for the production of their means of support. It is also a question outside of my subject whether it is better to have a great multitude of inhabitants, poor and badly provided, than a smaller number, much more at their ease: a million who consume the produce of 6 acres per head or 4 million who live on the product of an acre and a half.