fact which cannot now admit of any reasonable 
doubt; and the proof of it is, if possible, 
still more decisive with regard to Scotland 
than with regard to England. It is in Scotland 
supported by the evidence of the public 
fiars, annual valuations made upon oath, according 
to the actual state of the markets, of 
all the different sorts of grain in every different 
county of Scotland. If such direct proof 
could require any collateral evidence to confirm 
it, I would observe, that this has likewise 
been the case in France, and probably in 
most other parts of Europe. With regard to 
France, there is the clearest proof. But though 
it is certain, that in both parts of the united 
kingdom grain was somewhat dearer in the 
last century than in the present, it is equally 
certain that labour was much cheaper. If the 
labouring poor, therefore, could bring up their 
families then, they must be much more at 
their ease now. In the last century, the most 
usual day-wages of common labour through 
the greater part of Scotland were sixpence in 
summer, and fivepence in winter. Three shillings 
a-week, the same price, very nearly still 
continues to be paid in some parts of the 
Highlands and Western islands. Through 
the greater part of the Low country, the most 
usual wages of common labour are now eightpence 
a-day; tenpence, sometimes a shilling
about Edinburgh, in the counties which border 
upon England, probably on account of 
that neighbourhood, and in a few other places 
where there has lately been a considerable rise 
in the demand for labour, about Glasgow
Carron, Ayrshire, &c. In England, the improvements 
of agriculture, manufactures, and 
commerce, began much earlier than in Scotland
The demand for labour, and consequently 
its price, must necessarily have increased 
with those improvements. In the last 
century, accordingly, as well as in the present
the wages of labour were higher in England 
than in Scotland. They have risen, too, considerably 
since that time, though, on account 
of the greater variety of wages paid there in 
different places, it is more difficult to ascertain 
how much. In 1614, the pay of a foot 
soldier was the same as in the present times
eightpence a-day. When it was first established, 
it would naturally be regulated by the 
usual wages of common labourers, the rank 
of people from which foot soldiers are commonly 
drawn. Lord-chief-justice Hales, who 
wrote in the time of Charles II. computes the 
necessary expense of a labourer's family, consisting 
of six persons, the father and mother, 
two children able to do something, and two 
not able, at ten shillings a-week, or twenty-six 
pounds a-year. If they cannot earn this by 
their labour, they must make it up, he supposes
either by begging or stealing. He appears 
to have enquired very carefully into this 
subject[9]. In 1688, Mr Gregory King, whose 
skill in political arithmetic is so much extolled 
by Dr Davenant, computed the ordinary 
income of labourers and out-servants to be 
fifteen pounds a-year to a family, which he 
supposed to consist, one with another, of three 
and a half persons. His calculation, therefore, 
though different in appearance, corresponds 
very nearly at bottom with that of Judge 
Hales. Both suppose the weekly expense of 
such families to be about twenty-pence a-head
Both the pecuniary income and expense of 
such families have increased considerably since 
that time through the greater part of the kingdom
in some places more, and in some less, 
though perhaps scarce anywhere so much as 
some exaggerated accounts of the present wages 
of labour have lately represented them to the 
public. The price of labour, it must be observed
cannot be ascertained very accurately 
anywhere, different prices being often paid at 
the same place and for the same sort of labour
not only according to the different abilities 
of the workman, but according to the 
easiness or hardness of the masters. Where 
wages are not regulated by law, all that we 
can pretend to determine is, what are the 
most usual; and experience seems to shew 
that law can never regulate them properly, 
though it has often pretended to do so. 
The real recompence of labour, the real 
quantity of the necessaries and conveniencies 
of life which it can procure to the labourer
has, during the course of the present century
increased perhaps in a still greater proportion 
than its money price. Not only grain has become 
somewhat cheaper, but many other 
things, from which the industrious poor derive 
an agreeable and wholesome variety of food
have become a great deal cheaper. Potatoes
for example, do not at present, through the 
greater part of the kingdom, cost half the 
price which they used to do thirty or forty 
years ago. The same thing may be said of 
turnips, carrots, cabbages; things which were 
formerly never raised but by the spade, but 
which are now commonly raised by the plough. 
All sort of garden stuff, too, has become cheaper
The greater part of the apples, and even 
of the onions, consumed in Great Britain, 
were, in the last century, imported from Flanders
The great improvements in the coarser 
manufactories of both linen and woollen cloth 
furnish the labourers with cheaper and better 
clothing; and those in the manufactories of 
the coarser metals, with cheaper and better instruments 
of trade, as well as with many agreeable 
and convenient pieces of household 
furniture. Soap, salt, candles, leather, and 
fermented liquors, have, indeed, become a