or stationary demand of the society, may 
happen to require. But though the wear and 
tear of a free servant be equally at the expense 
of his master, it generally costs him 
much less than that of a slave. The fund 
destined for replacing or repairing, if I may 
say so, the wear and tear of the slave, is commonly 
managed by a negligent master or 
careless overseer. That destined for performing 
the same office with regard to the freeman 
is managed by the freeman himself. 
The disorders which generally prevail in the 
economy of the rich, naturally introduce 
themselves into the management of the former; 
the strict frugality and parsimonious 
attention of the poor as naturally establish 
themselves in that of the latter. Under such 
different management, the same purpose must 
require very different degrees of expense to 
execute it. It appears, accordingly, from the 
experience of all ages and nations, I believe, 
that the work done by freemen comes cheaper 
in the end than that performed by slaves. It 
is found to do so even at Boston, New-York, 
and Philadelphia, where the wages of common 
labour are so very high. 
The liberal reward of labour, therefore, as 
it is the effect of increasing wealth, so it is 
the cause of increasing population. To complain 
of it, is to lament over the necessary 
cause and effect of the greatest public prosperity
It deserves to be remarked, perhaps, that it 
is in the progressive state, while the society is 
advancing to the further acquisition, rather 
than when it has acquired its full complement 
of riches, that the condition of the labouring 
poor, of the great body of the people, seems 
to be the happiest and the most comfortable
It is hard in the stationary, and miserable in 
the declining state. The progressive state is, 
in reality, the cheerful and the hearty state to 
all the different orders of the society; the 
stationary is dull; the declining melancholy. 
The liberal reward of labour, as it encourages 
the propagation, so it increases the industry 
of the common people. The wages of 
labour are the encouragement of industry
which, like every other human quality, improves 
in proportion to the encouragement it 
receives. A plentiful subsistence increases 
the bodily strength of the labourer, and the 
comfortable hope of bettering his condition, 
and of ending his days, perhaps, in ease and 
plenty, animates him to exert that strength to 
the utmost. Where wages are high, accordingly, 
we shall always find the workmen more 
active, diligent, and expeditious, than where 
they are low; in England, for example, than 
in Scotland; in the neighbourhood of great 
towns, than in remote country places. Some 
workmen, indeed, when they can earn in four 
days what will maintain them through the 
week, will be idle the other three. This, however, 
is by no means the case with the greater 
part. Workmen, on the contrary, when they 
are liberally paid by the piece, are very apt to 
overwork themselves, and to ruin their health 
and constitution in a few years. A carpenter 
in London, and in some other places, is not 
supposed to last in his utmost vigour above 
eight years. Something of the same kind 
happens in many other trades, in which the 
workmen are paid by the piece; as they generally 
are in manufactures, and even in 
country labour, wherever wages are higher 
than ordinary. Almost every class of artificers 
is subject to some peculiar infirmity occasioned 
by excessive application to their peculiar 
species of work. Ramuzzini, an eminent 
Italian physician, has written a particular 
book concerning such diseases. We do 
not reckon our soldiers the most industrious 
set of people among us; yet when soldiers 
have been employed in some particular sorts 
of work, and liberally paid by the piece, their 
officers have frequently been obliged to stipulate 
with the undertaker, that they should not 
be allowed to earn above a certain sum every 
day, according to the rate at which they were 
paid. Till this stipulation was made, mutual 
emulation, and the desire of greater gain, 
frequently prompted them to overwork themselves, 
and to hurt their health by excessive 
labour. Excessive application, during four 
days of the week, is frequently the real cause 
of the idleness of the other three, so much and 
so loudly complained of. Great labour, either 
of mind or body, continued for several days 
together is, in most men, naturally followed 
by a great desire of relaxation, which, if not 
restrained by force, or by some strong necessity, 
is almost irresistible. It is the call of 
nature, which requires to be relieved by some 
indulgence, sometimes of ease only, but sometimes 
too of dissipation and diversion. If it 
is not complied with, the consequences are 
often dangerous and sometimes fatal, and 
such as almost always, sooner or later, bring 
on the peculiar infirmity of the trade. If 
masters would always listen to the dictates of 
reason and humanity, they have frequently 
occasion rather to moderate, than to animate 
the application of many of their workmen. It 
will be found, I believe, in every sort of trade, 
that the man who works so moderately, as to 
be able to work constantly, not only preserves 
his health the longest, but, in the course of 
the year, executes the greatest quantity of 
In cheap years it is pretended, workmen 
are generally more idle, and in dear times 
more industrious than ordinary. A plentiful 
subsistence, therefore, it has been concluded, 
relaxes, and a scanty one quickens their industry
That a little more plenty than ordinary 
may render some workmen idle, cannot 
be well doubted; but that it should have this 
effect upon the greater part, or that men in 
general should work better when they are ill