to the superiority of labour and expense
In agriculture, the labour of the rich 
country is not always much more productive 
than that of the poor; or, at least, it is never 
so much more productive, as it commonly is 
in manufactures. The corn of the rich country
therefore, will not always, in the same 
degree of goodness, come cheaper to market 
than that of the poor. The corn of Poland, 
in the same degree of goodness, is as cheap as 
that of France, notwithstanding the superior 
opulence and improvement of the latter country
The corn of France is, in the corn-provinces
fully as good, and in most years nearly 
about the same price with the corn of England
though, in opulence and improvement
France in perhaps inferior to England. The 
corn-lands of England, however, are better 
cultivated than those of France, and the corn-lands 
of France are said to be much better 
cultivated than those of Poland. But though 
the poor country, notwithstanding the inferiority 
of its cultivation, can, in some measure
rival the rich in the cheapness and goodness 
of its corn, it can pretend to no such competition 
in its manufactures, at least if those 
manufactures suit the soil, climate, and situation, 
of the rich country. The silks of France 
are better and cheaper than those of England
because the silk manufacture, at least under 
the present high duties upon the importation 
of raw silk, does not so well suit the climate 
of England as that of France. But the hardware 
and the coarse woollens of England are 
beyond all comparison superior to those of 
France, and much cheaper, too, in the same 
degree of goodness. In Poland there are said 
to be scarce any manufactures of any kind, a 
few of those coarser household manufactures 
excepted, without which no country can well 
This great increase in the quantity of work
which, in consequence of the division of labour
the same number of people are capable 
of performing, is owing to three different circumstances
first, to the increase of dexterity 
in every particular workman; secondly, to the 
saving of the time which is commonly lost in 
passing from one species of work to another; 
and, lastly, to the invention of a great number 
of machines which facilitate and abridge 
labour, and enable one man to do the work 
of many. 
First, the improvement of the dexterity of 
the workmen, necessarily increases the quantity 
of the work he can perform; and the division 
of labour, by reducing every man's 
business to some one simple operation, and 
by making this operation the sole employment 
of his life, necessarily increases very much the 
dexterity of the workman. A common smith
who, though accustomed to handle the hammer
has never been used to make nails, if, 
upon some particular occasion, he is obliged 
to attempt it, will scarce, I am assured, be 
able to make above two or three hundred 
nails in a day, and those, too, very bad ones. 
A smith who has been accustomed to make 
nails, but whose sole or principal business has 
not been that of a nailer, can seldom, with his 
utmost diligence, make more than eight hundred 
or a thousand nails in a day. I have 
seen several boys, under twenty years of age
who had never exercised any other trade but 
that of making nails, and who, when they exerted 
themselves, could make, each of them, 
upwards of two thousand three hundred nails 
in a day. The making of a nail, however, is 
by no means one of the simplest operations
The same person blows the bellows, stirs or 
mends the fire as there is occasion, heats the 
iron, and forges every part of the nail: in 
forging the head, too, he in obliged to change 
his tools. The different operations into which 
the making of a pin, or of a metal button, is 
subdivided, are all of them much more simple
and the dexterity of the person, of whose life 
it has been the sole business to perform them, 
is usually much greater. The rapidity with 
which some of the operations of those manufactures 
are performed, exceeds what the human 
hand could, by those who had never seen 
them, be supposed capable of acquiring
Secondly, The advantage which is gained 
by saving the time commonly lost in passing 
from one sort of work to another, is much 
greater than we should at first view be apt to 
imagine it. It is impossible to pass very 
quickly from one kind of work to another, 
that is carried on in a different place, and 
with quite different tools. A country weaver
who cultivates a small farm, must loose a good 
deal of time in passing from his loom to the 
field, and from the field to his loom. When 
the two trades can be carried on in the same 
workhouse, the loss of time is, no doubt
much less. It is, even in this case, however, 
very considerable. A man commonly saunters 
a little in turning his hand from one sort 
of employment to another. When he first 
begins the new work, he is seldom very keen 
and hearty; his mind, as they say, does not 
go to it, and for some time he rather trifles 
than applies to good purpose. The habit of 
sauntering, and of indolent careless application
which is naturally, or rather necessarily
acquired by every country workman who is 
obliged to change his work and his tools every 
half hour, and to apply his hand in twenty 
different ways almost every day of his life
renders him almost always slothful and lazy
and incapable of any vigorous application, 
even on the most pressing occasions. Independent
therefore, of his deficiency in point 
of dexterity, this cause alone must always reduce 
considerably the quantity of work which 
he is capable of performing
Thirdly, and lastly, everybody must be sensible 
how much labour is facilitated and abridged 
by the application of proper machinery