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to himself a spot of ground, lying convenient to some creek or bay, sufficient to build a little town on, where boats may come in with necessaries, and take off the superfluous commodities, subject to some custom or duty.
The island of pasture, yielding yearly the sum of 30001. gives its proprietor 15001. and each of the three graziers 5001. its whole produce, for twenty years, will amount to 60,0001.
If only one half of the corn island is tilled, and sowed with oats, its annual produce will be 40001.; out of which the landlord receiving 10001., each of the forty farmers has 751. for his own share. The whole produce of the cultivated balf only, for twenty years, will amount to 80,0001.; the other half that is grazed by milch and plough cattle, producing only 10001. a year, yields in twenty years 20,0001., which being shared entirely among the forty tenants, will go near to defray all their expenses in living, so that each may save almost his whole 75l. yearly.
Thus it appears how graziers come to make so great fortunes, and at whose expense; and how farming comes to be despised, because nobody makes an overgrown fortune by it in a few years.
But let us return to our islands, says my friend, and let us see in what condition they are now, at the expiration of the twenty years.
The island of pasture is no worse.
But the island of corn is a great deal better. Many houses are built, ditches made, orchards, and hedge-rows planted, lands drained, coarse grounds reclaimed, and some artisans brought in, housewifery at the same time and manufactures are begun.
The island of pasture has better hunting, better fowling, and is less disturbed with noise and bustle, than the corn island. Its inhabitants are also double the number they were at first.
The food of the poor in the island of corn, is bread, beef, butter, milk, pottage, flummery, &c.
The food of the poor in the island of pasture, is buttermilk, curds, sorrel, nettles, watergrass, and by way of delicacy, in the bleeding and slaughtering seasons, boiled blood.
The one sort of people are free, and full of beart, the other are cowardly slaves. The posterity of the one is bred to labour, that of the other to idleness. These make useful members of society, those make thieves and beggars. These boldly defend their property, those have no property, and durst not defend it if they had.
But let us now suppose both islands to be set again.
The island of pasture, admitting of no improvement, is just as it was at first. The graziers' families however, being doubled, they must live more poorly than they did; and the families of their herds being also doubled, and consequently there being employment only for one half of them, the other half must either beg, steal, and starve at home, or else must go over to the corn island for work and victuals. As the graziers may have saved money, they will be under the less necessity of taking their land at an advanced rent. And as for their herds, as they could save nothing, so they have no stock, and consequently can propose for no land. The proprietor therefore must be satisfied with his old rent.
In the island of corn great improvements having been made, its land being better laboured by the increase of the inhabitants, and the accession of hands from the other island, and consequently its crops being much better, its farms having convenient houses, and other accommodations for tenants, its manufactures beginning to bring in to the farmers near as much as the produce of their ground, and merchants growing rich by the exportation of such grain and manufactures as can be spared, and trade having produced a town where tenements set for twenty times the rent of other lands, the proprietor can scarce fail of getting 20s. an acre, one with another, for his ground. Thus his rent will amount to 20001. yearly, and the duties on exports, which foreigners always pay, will arise to a considerable sum besides. The timber also, which the ditches will produce, will now begin to bring him in some profit; so that we may fairly allow him to receive out of his little island, during the term of the second leases, the yearly sum of 25001.
As to the inhabitants of his island, as they are now increased to eighty families of farmers, besides artisans, they
will certainly cant up his lands to a high value; so that he may be secure of such a rent as I have allowed him. And as to themselves, they will have great abundance of wealth, though divided among many hands. We cannot suppose all the hands of the island to be altogether, and always employed in labouring the land. One fifth part of them will be sufficient for that purpose, and the rest, as they came from the north of Ireland, and brought the knowledge of the linen trade with them, will certainly fall to the flaxen manufacture. In this kind of business every eight pounds of flax which at 6d. per lb. costs only 4s. will sell out again, in twenty yards of linen, for 11., 21., or 31. Other manufactures for exportation will also be made, so that the wealth brought in by corn, will be but small in comparison of that which will accrue from wares, and merchandise of one kind or another. Thus, by the expiration of the second twenty years, the wealth of the two islands will bear no proportion to each other. The manufactures will produce twice the profits of the tillage, and the whole wealth arising out of, and acquired by, the inhabitants of the little island, besides paying the proprietor his rent and taxes, will in twenty years, from the commencement of the new leases, amount to between 2 and 300,0001.
All this time the island of pasture is at a stand. Its inhabitants, as they increased, removed to the little island, and are lost for ever to their native country. And its beef, wool, &c. have been carried out to foreign countries by the shipping of the little island, which by that means have run away with a large share of the profits arising out of those commodities, when carried to foreign markets.
In process of time the inhabitants of the little island having learned the art of war, as necessary for the defence of their possessions, and their sovereign growing ambitious, upon some dispute arising between him, and his neighbouring proprietor of the large island, he will make war upon him, and with great ease take his island from him.
See here, sir, in this just and fair parallel drawn up by my friend, the different effects of grazing and tillage, so demonstrably proving, and so agreeably illustrating the whole tenor of this letter.
Having heartily tired you, sir, and myself on this very important topic, I shall now take leave of it, wishing that I could either put you into a method of improving your fortune, or defending your country from the terrible calamities of famine and pestilence, and assuring you that I am, sir, with all imaginable respect, Your most obedient humble servant,
IN THE YEAR 1770.
After having tired mankind with my waking thoughts in several large volumes, let them take a sample of my dreams. It is the saying of a very old philosopher, that while we are awake we all live in one common world, but when we go to sleep every one retires to a world of his own. The natural philosophers have always, whether awake or asleep, been great world-makers, and the moral as remarkable for world-mending
For my own part, I never attempted to make a world, but take this as I find it, for better, for worse, and leave the sun and stars to stand still or go round, just as He pleases who made them. If I can breathe the air, guide myself by the light, and subsistest on the fruits of the earth, it is of little moment with me, whether our atmosphere is five or fifty miles high; whether the light is instantaneous or progressive; and whether my food is digested by attrition, by animal heat, by the salival menstruum, or by fermentation. In the day time I think of these things as every peasant does, and at night, dream only of what employed my thoughts when my senses and affections were engaged in the scenes around me. My imagination indeed takes upon her to build up, pull down, and transpose as she thinks fit. If any thing very new or surprising hath lately struck me, she seldom fails when reason is asleep, to give it a rehearsal and to model it in a way of her own. I have not been in town for a long time. If therefore I appear like a creature of another world, the present inhabitants of this city seem no less strange to me. I fancy myself transported to some distant part of the solar system, if not into a region far beyond its utmost bounds. Like a new arrived traveller, I beheld hardly any thing I ever saw before. With difficulty