INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница

proportion to their annual expense, even though you rate the former as

high, and the latter as low, as can well be done. The lottery of the

law, therefore, is very far from being a perfectly fair lottery; and

that as well as many other liberal and honourable professions, is, in

point of pecuniary gain, evidently under-recompensed.

Those professions keep their level, however, with other occupations;

and, notwithstanding these discouragements, all the most generous and

liberal spirits are eager to crowd into them. Two different causes

contribute to recommend them. First, the desire of the reputation

which attends upon superior excellence in any of them INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница; and, secondly,

the natural confidence which every man has, more or less, not only in

his own abilities, but in his own good fortune.

To excel in any profession, in which but few arrive at mediocrity, it

is the most decisive mark of what is called genius, or superior

talents. The public admiration which attends upon such distinguished

abilities makes always a part of their reward; a greater or smaller,

in proportion as it is higher or lower in degree. It makes a

considerable part of that reward in the profession of physic; a still

greater, perhaps, in that of law; in poetry and philosophy it INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница makes

almost the whole.

There are some very agreeable and beautiful talents, of which the

possession commands a certain sort of admiration, but of which the

exercise, for the sake of gain, is considered, whether from reason or

prejudice, as a sort of public prostitution. The pecuniary recompence,

therefore, of those who exercise them in this manner, must be

sufficient, not only to pay for the time, labour, and expense of

acquiring the talents, but for the discredit which attends the

employment of them as the means of subsistence. The exorbitant rewards

of players, opera-singers, opera-dancers, etc. are founded upon those

two principles; the rarity and beauty of INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница the talents, and the

discredit of employing them in this manner. It seems absurd at first

sight, that we should despise their persons, and yet reward their

talents with the most profuse liberality. While we do the one,

however, we must of necessity do the other, Should the public opinion

or prejudice ever alter with regard to such occupations, their

pecuniary recompence would quickly diminish. More people would apply

to them, and the competition would quickly reduce the price of their

labour. Such talents, though far from being common, are by no means so

rare as imagined. Many people possess them in great perfection INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница, who

disdain to make this use of them; and many more are capable of

acquiring them, if any thing could be made honourably by them.

The over-weening conceit which the greater part of men have of their

own abilities, is an ancient evil remarked by the philosophers and

moralists of all ages. Their absurd presumption in their own good

fortune has been less taken notice of. It is, however, if possible,

still more universal. There is no man living, who, when in tolerable

health and spirits, has not some share of it. The chance of gain is by

every man more or less over-valued, and the INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница chance of loss is by most

men under-valued, and by scarce any man, who is in tolerable health

and spirits, valued more than it is worth.

That the chance of gain is naturally overvalued, we may learn from the

universal success of lotteries. The world neither ever saw, nor ever

will see, a perfectly fair lottery, or one in which the whole gain

compensated the whole loss; because the undertaker could make nothing

by it. In the state lotteries, the tickets are really not worth the

price which is paid by the original subscribers, and yet commonly sell

in the market for twenty, thirty, and INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница sometimes forty per cent.

advance. The vain hopes of gaining some of the great prizes is the

sole cause of this demand. The soberest people scarce look upon it as

a folly to pay a small sum for the chance of gaining ten or twenty

thousand pounds, though they know that even that small sum is perhaps

twenty or thirty per cent. more than the chance is worth. In a lottery

in which no prize exceeded twenty pounds, though in other respects it

approached much nearer to a perfectly fair one than the common state

lotteries, there would not be the same demand for tickets. In INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница order to

have a better chance for some of the great prizes, some people

purchase several tickets; and others, small shares in a still greater

number. There is not, however, a more certain proposition in

mathematics, than that the more tickets you adventure upon, the more

likely you are to be a loser. Adventure upon all the tickets in the

lottery, and you lose for certain; and the greater the number of your

tickets, the nearer you approach to this certainty.

That the chance of loss is frequently undervalued, and scarce ever

valued more than it is worth, we may learn from the very moderate

profit of insurers. In INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница order to make insurance, either from fire or

sea-risk, a trade at all, the common premium must be sufficient to

compensate the common losses, to pay the expense of management, and to

afford such a profit as might have been drawn from an equal capital

employed in any common trade. The person who pays no more than this,

evidently pays no more than the real value of the risk, or the lowest

price at which he can reasonably expect to insure it. But though many

people have made a little money by insurance, very few have made a

great fortune; and, from this consideration alone, it INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница seems evident



enough that the ordinary balance of profit and loss is not more

advantageous in this than in other common trades, by which so many

people make fortunes. Moderate, however, as the premium of insurance

commonly is, many people despise the risk too much to care to pay it.

Taking the whole kingdom at an average, nineteen houses in twenty, or

rather, perhaps, ninety-nine in a hundred, are not insured from fire.

Sea-risk is more alarming to the greater part of people; and the

proportion of ships insured to those not insured is much greater. Many

sail, however, at all INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница seasons, and even in time of war, without any

insurance. This may sometimes, perhaps, be done without any

imprudence. When a great company, or even a great merchant, has twenty

or thirty ships at sea, they may, as it were, insure one another. The

premium saved up on them all may more than compensate such losses as

they are likely to meet with in the common course of chances. The

neglect of insurance upon shipping, however, in the same manner as

upon houses, is, in most cases, the effect of no such nice

calculation, but of mere thoughtless rashness, and presumptuous

contempt of the risk.

The contempt of INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница risk, and the presumptuous hope of success, are in no

period of life more active than at the age at which young people

choose their professions. How little the fear of misfortune is then

capable of balancing the hope of good luck, appears still more

evidently in the readiness of the common people to enlist as soldiers,

or to go to sea, than in the eagerness of those of better fashion to

enter into what are called the liberal professions.

What a common soldier may lose is obvious enough. Without regarding

the danger, however, young volunteers never enlist so readily as at

the beginning of a new war; and INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница though they have scarce any chance of

preferment, they figure to themselves, in their youthful fancies, a

thousand occasions of acquiring honour and distinction which never

occur. These romantic hopes make the whole price of their blood. Their

pay is less than that of common labourers, and, in actual service,

their fatigues are much greater.

The lottery of the sea is not altogether so disadvantageous as that of

the army. The son of a creditable labourer or artificer may frequently

go to sea with his father's consent; but if he enlists as a soldier,

it is always without it. Other people see some INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница chance of his making

something by the one trade; nobody but himself sees any of his making

any thing by the other. The great admiral is less the object of public

admiration than the great general; and the highest success in the sea

service promises a less brilliant fortune and reputation than equal

success in the land. The same difference runs through all the inferior

degrees of preferment in both. By the rules of precedency, a captain

in the navy ranks with a colonel in the army; but he does not rank

with him in the common estimation. As the great prizes in the lottery

are less, the smaller INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница ones must be more numerous. Common sailors,

therefore, more frequently get some fortune and preferment than common

soldiers; and the hope of those prizes is what principally recommends

the trade. Though their skill and dexterity are much superior to that

of almost any artificers; and though their whole life is one continual

scene of hardship and danger; yet for all this dexterity and skill,

for all those hardships and dangers, while they remain in the

condition of common sailors, they receive scarce any other recompence

but the pleasure of exercising the one and of surmounting the other.

Their wages are not greater INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница than those of common labourers at the port

which regulates the rate of seamen's wages. As they are continually

going from port to port, the monthly pay of those who sail from all

the different ports of Great Britain, is more nearly upon a level than

that of any other workmen in those different places; and the rate of

the port to and from which the greatest number sail, that is, the port

of London, regulates that of all the rest. At London, the wages of the

greater part of the different classes of workmen are about double

those of the same classes at Edinburgh. But the INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница sailors who sail from

the port of London, seldom earn above three or four shillings a month

more than those who sail from the port of Leith, and the difference is

frequently not so great. In time of peace, and in the

merchant-service, the London price is from a guinea to about

seven-and-twenty shillings the calendar month. A common labourer in

London, at the rate of nine or ten shillings a week, may earn in the

calendar month from forty to five-and-forty shillings. The sailor,

indeed, over and above his pay, is supplied with provisions. Their

value, however, may not perhaps INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница always exceed the difference between

his pay and that of the common labourer; and though it sometimes

should, the excess will not be clear gain to the sailor, because he

cannot share it with his wife and family, whom he must maintain out of

his wages at home.

The dangers and hair-breadth escapes of a life of adventures, instead

of disheartening young people, seem frequently to recommend a trade to

them. A tender mother, among the inferior ranks of people, is often

afraid to send her son to school at a sea-port town, lest the sight of

the ships, and the conversation and adventures of the INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница sailors, should

entice him to go to sea. The distant prospect of hazards, from which

we can hope to extricate ourselves by courage and address, is not

disagreeable to us, and does not raise the wages of labour in any

employment. It is otherwise with those in which courage and address

can be of no avail. In trades which are known to be very unwholesome,

the wages of labour are always remarkably high. Unwholesomeness is a

species of disagreeableness, and its effects upon the wages of labour

are to be ranked under that general head.

In all the different employments of stock, the ordinary rate INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница of profit

varies more or less with the certainty or uncertainty of the returns.

These are, in general, less uncertain in the inland than in the

foreign trade, and in some branches of foreign trade than in others;

in the trade to North America, for example, than in that to Jamaica.

The ordinary rate of profit always rises more or less with the risk.

it does not, however, seem to rise in proportion to it, or so as to

compensate it completely. Bankruptcies are most frequent in the most

hazardous trades. The most hazardous of all trades, that of a

smuggler, though, when the INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница adventure succeeds, it is likewise the most

profitable, is the infallible road to bankruptcy. The presumptuous

hope of success seems to act here as upon all other occasions, and to

entice so many adventurers into those hazardous trades, that their

competition reduces the profit below what is sufficient to compensate

the risk. To compensate it completely, the common returns ought, over

and above the ordinary profits of stock, not only to make up for all

occasional losses, but to afford a surplus profit to the adventurers,

of the same nature with the profit of insurers. But if the common

returns were sufficient for all this, bankruptcies would not be more

frequent INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница in these than in other trades.

Of the five circumstances, therefore, which vary the wages of labour,

two only affect the profits of stock; the agreeableness or

disagreeableness of the business, and the risk or security with which

it is attended. In point of agreeableness or disagreeableness, there

is little or no difference in the far greater part of the different

employments of stock, but a great deal in those of labour; and the

ordinary profit of stock, though it rises with the risk, does not

always seem to rise in proportion to it. It should follow from all

this, that, in the same society or INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница neighbourhood, the average and

ordinary rates of profit in the different employments of stock should

be more nearly upon a level than the pecuniary wages of the different

sorts of labour.

They are so accordingly. The difference between the earnings of a

common labourer and those of a well employed lawyer or physician, is

evidently much greater than that between the ordinary profits in any

two different branches of trade. The apparent difference, besides, in

the profits of different trades, is generally a deception arising from

our not always distinguishing what ought to be considered as wages,

from what ought to be considered as INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница profit.

Apothecaries' profit is become a bye-word, denoting something

uncommonly extravagant. This great apparent profit, however, is

frequently no more than the reasonable wages of labour. The skill of

an apothecary is a much nicer and more delicate matter than that of

any artificer whatever; and the trust which is reposed in him is of

much greater importance. He is the physician of the poor in all cases,

and of the rich when the distress or danger is not very great. His

reward, therefore, ought to be suitable to his skill and his trust;

and it arises generally from the price at which he INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница sells his drugs.

But the whole drugs which the best employed apothecary in a large

market-town, will sell in a year, may not perhaps cost him above

thirty or forty pounds. Though he should sell them, therefore, for

three or four hundred, or at a thousand per cent. profit, this may

frequently be no more than the reasonable wages of his labour,

charged, in the only way in which he can charge them, upon the price

of his drugs. The greater part of the apparent profit is real wages

disguised in the garb of profit.

In a small sea-port town, a little grocer will INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница make forty or fifty per

cent. upon a stock of a single hundred pounds, while a considerable

wholesale merchant in the same place will scarce make eight or ten per

cent. upon a stock of ten thousand. The trade of the grocer may be

necessary for the conveniency of the inhabitants, and the narrowness

of the market may not admit the employment of a larger capital in the

business. The man, however, must not only live by his trade, but live

by it suitably to the qualifications which it requires. Besides

possessing a little capital, he must be able to read, write, and

account and must be a tolerable judge INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница, too, of perhaps fifty or sixty

different sorts of goods, their prices, qualities, and the markets

where they are to be had cheapest. He must have all the knowledge, in

short, that is necessary for a great merchant, which nothing hinders

him from becoming but the want of a sufficient capital. Thirty or

forty pounds a year cannot be considered as too great a recompence for

the labour of a person so accomplished. Deduct this from the seemingly

great profits of his capital, and little more will remain, perhaps,

than the ordinary profits of stock. The greater part of the apparent

profit is, in this INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница case too, real wages.

The difference between the apparent profit of the retail and that of

the wholesale trade, is much less in the capital than in small towns

and country villages. Where ten thousand pounds can be employed in the

grocery trade, the wages of the grocer's labour must be a very

trifling addition to the real profits of so great a stock. The

apparent profits of the wealthy retailer, therefore, are there more

nearly upon a level with those of the wholesale merchant. It is upon

this account that goods sold by retail are generally as cheap, and

frequently much cheaper, in the capital than in INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница small towns and

country villages. Grocery goods, for example, are generally much

cheaper; bread and butchers' meat frequently as cheap. It costs no

more to bring grocery goods to the great town than to the country

village; but it costs a great deal more to bring corn and cattle, as

the greater part of them must be brought from a much greater distance.

The prime cost of grocery goods, therefore, being the same in both

places, they are cheapest where the least profit is charged upon them.

The prime cost of bread and butchers' meat is greater in the great

town than in the country INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница village; and though the profit is less,

therefore they are not always cheaper there, but often equally cheap.

In such articles as bread and butchers' meat, the same cause which

diminishes apparent profit, increases prime cost. The extent of the

market, by giving employment to greater stocks, diminishes apparent

profit; but by requiring supplies from a greater distance, it

increases prime cost. This diminution of the one and increase of the

other, seem, in most cases, nearly to counterbalance one another;

which is probably the reason that, though the prices of corn and

cattle are commonly very different in different parts of the kingdom INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница,

those of bread and butchers' meat are generally very nearly the same

through the greater part of it.

Though the profits of stock, both in the wholesale and retail trade,

are generally less in the capital than in small towns and country

villages, yet great fortunes are frequently acquired from small

beginnings in the former, and scarce ever in the latter. In small

towns and country villages, on account of the narrowness of the

market, trade cannot always be extended as stock extends. In such

places, therefore, though the rate of a particular person's profits

may be very high, the sum or amount of them INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница can never be very great,

nor consequently that of his annual accumulation. In great towns, on

the contrary, trade can be extended as stock increases, and the credit

of a frugal and thriving man increases much faster than his stock. His

trade is extended in proportion to the amount of both; and the sum or

amount of his profits is in proportion to the extent of his trade, and

his annual accumulation in proportion to the amount of his profits. It

seldom happens, however, that great fortunes are made, even in great

towns, by any one regular, established, and well-known branch of

business, but in consequence of a INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница long life of industry, frugality,

and attention. Sudden fortunes, indeed, are sometimes made in such

places, by what is called the trade of speculation. The speculative

merchant exercises no one regular, established, or well-known branch

of business. He is a corn merchant this year, and a wine merchant the

next, and a sugar, tobacco, or tea merchant the year after. He enters

into every trade, when he foresees that it is likely to lie more than

commonly profitable, and he quits it when he foresees that its profits

are likely to return to the level of other trades. His profits and

losses, therefore, can bear no INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница regular proportion to those of any one

established and well-known branch of business. A bold adventurer may

sometimes acquire a considerable fortune by two or three successful

speculations, but is just as likely to lose one by two or three

unsuccessful ones. This trade can be carried on nowhere but in great

towns. It is only in places of the most extensive commerce and

correspondence that the intelligence requisite for it can be had.

The five circumstances above mentioned, though they occasion

considerable inequalities in the wages of labour and profits of stock,

occasion none in the whole of the advantages and disadvantages, real

or INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница imaginary, of the different employments of either. The nature of

those circumstances is such, that they make up for a small pecuniary

gain in some, and counterbalance a great one in others.

In order, however, that this equality may take place in the whole of

their advantages or disadvantages, three things are requisite, even

where there is the most perfect freedom. First the employments must be

well known and long established in the neighbourhood; secondly, they

must be in their ordinary, or what may be called their natural state;

and, thirdly, they must be the sole or principal employments of those

who occupy them INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница.

First, This equality can take place only in those employments which

are well known, and have been long established in the neighbourhood.

Where all other circumstances are equal, wages are generally higher in

new than in old trades. When a projector attempts to establish a new

manufacture, he must at first entice his workmen from other

employments, by higher wages than they can either earn in their own

trades, or than the nature of his work would otherwise require; and a

considerable time must pass away before he can venture to reduce them

to the common level. Manufactures for which the demand arises

altogether from fashion and fancy, are continually INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница changing, and

seldom last long enough to be considered as old established

manufactures. Those, on the contrary, for which the demand arises

chiefly from use or necessity, are less liable to change, and the same

form or fabric may continue in demand for whole centuries together.

The wages of labour, therefore, are likely to be higher in

manufactures of the former, than in those of the latter kind.

Birmingham deals chiefly in manufactures of the former kind; Sheffield

in those of the latter; and the wages of labour in those two different

places are said to be suitable to this difference in the nature of

their INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница manufactures.

The establishment of any new manufacture, of any new branch of

commerce, or of any new practice in agriculture, is always a

speculation from which the projector promises himself extraordinary

profits. These profits sometimes are very great, and sometimes, more

frequently, perhaps, they are quite otherwise; but, in general, they

bear no regular proportion to those of other old trades in the

neighbourhood. If the project succeeds, they are commonly at first

very high. When the trade or practice becomes thoroughly established

and well known, the competition reduces them to the level of other

trades.

Secondly, this equality in the whole of the advantages and

disadvantages of the INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница different employments of labour and stock, can

take place only in the ordinary, or what may be called the natural

state of those employments.

The demand for almost every different species of labour is sometimes

greater, and sometimes less than usual. In the one case, the

advantages of the employment rise above, in the other they fall below

the common level. The demand for country labour is greater at hay-time

and harvest than during the greater part of the year; and wages rise

with the demand. In time of war, when forty or fifty thousand sailors

are forced from the merchant service into that INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница of the king, the demand

for sailors to merchant ships necessarily rises with their scarcity;

and their wages, upon such occasions, commonly rise from a guinea and

seven-and-twenty shillings to forty shilling's and three pounds

a-month. In a decaying manufacture, on the contrary, many workmen,

rather than quit their own trade, are contented with smaller wages

than would otherwise be suitable to the nature of their employment.

The profits of stock vary with the price of the commodities in which

it is employed. As the price of any commodity rises above the ordinary

or average rate, the profits of at least INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница some part of the stock that

is employed in bringing it to market, rise above their proper level,

and as it falls they sink below it. All commodities are more or less

liable to variations of price, but some are much more so than others.

In all commodities which are produced by human industry, the quantity

of industry annually employed is necessarily regulated by the annual

demand, in such a manner that the average annual produce may, as

nearly as possible, be equal to the average annual consumption. In

some employments, it has already been observed, the same quantity of

industry will always produce the same, or very nearly INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница the same

quantity of commodities. In the linen or woollen manufactures, for

example, the same number of hands will annually work up very nearly

the same quantity of linen and woollen cloth. The variations in the

market price of such commodities, therefore, can arise only from some

accidental variation in the demand. A public mourning raises the price

of black cloth. But as the demand for most sorts of plain linen and

woollen cloth is pretty uniform, so is likewise the price. But there

are other employments in which the same quantity of industry will not

always produce the same quantity of commodities. The same quantity of

industry INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница, for example, will, in different years, produce very

different quantities of corn, wine, hops, sugar tobacco, etc. The

price of such commodities, therefore, varies not only with the

variations of demand, but with the much greater and more frequent

variations of quantity, and is consequently extremely fluctuating; but

the profit of some of the dealers must necessarily fluctuate with the

price of the commodities. The operations of the speculative merchant

are principally employed about such commodities. He endeavours to buy

them up when he foresees that their price is likely to rise, and to

sell them when it is likely to fall.

Thirdly, this equality in the INTRODUCTION AND PLAN OF THE WORK. 10 страница whole of the advantages and

disadvantages of the different employments of labour and stock, can


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