fed, than when they are well fed, when they 
are disheartened than when they are in good 
spirits, when they are frequently sick than 
when they are generally in good health, seems 
not very probable. Years of dearth, it is to 
be observed, are generally among the common 
people years of sickness and mortality
which cannot fail to diminish the produce of 
their industry
In years of plenty, servants frequently leave 
their masters, and trust their subsistence to 
what they can make by their own industry
But the same cheapness of provisions, by increasing 
the fund which is destined for the 
maintenance of servants, encourages masters
farmers especially, to employ a greater number
Farmers, upon such occasions, expect more profit 
from their corn by maintaining a few more 
labouring servants, than by selling it at a low 
price in the market. The demand for servants 
increases, while the number of those who offer 
to supply that demand diminishes. The price 
of labour, therefore, frequently rises in cheap 
In years of scarcity, the difficulty and uncertainty 
of subsistence make all such people 
eager to return to service. But the high price 
of provisions, by diminishing the funds destined 
for the maintenance of servants, disposes 
masters rather to diminish than to increase the 
number of those they have. In dear years
too, poor independent workmen frequently 
consume the little stock with which they had 
used to supply themselves with the materials 
of their work, and are obliged to become journeymen 
for subsistence. More people want 
employment than easily get it; many are willing 
to take it upon lower terms than ordinary; 
and the wages of both servants and journeymen 
frequently sink in dear years. 
Masters of all sorts, therefore, frequently 
make better bargains with their servants in 
dear than in cheap years, and find them more 
humble and dependent in the former than in 
the latter. They naturally, therefore, commend 
the former as more favourable to industry
Landlords and farmers, besides, two of 
the largest classes of masters, have another 
reason for being pleased with dear years. The 
rents of the one, and the profits of the other, 
depend very much upon the price of provisions
Nothing can be more absurd, however, 
than to imagine that men in general 
should work less when they work for themselves, 
than when they work for other people. 
A poor independent workman will generally 
be more industrious than even a journeyman 
who works by the piece. The one enjoys the 
whole produce of his own industry, the other 
shares it with his master. The one, in his 
separate independent state, is less liable to 
the temptations of bad company, which, in 
large manufactories, so frequently ruin the 
morals of the other. The superiority of the 
independent workman over those servants who 
are hired by the month or by the year, and 
whose wages and maintenance are the same, 
whether they do much or do little, is likely to 
be still greater. Cheap years tend to increase 
the proportion of independent workmen to 
journeymen and servants of all kinds, and 
dear years to diminish it. 
A French author of great knowledge and 
ingenuity, Mr Messance, receiver of the tallies 
in the election of St Etienne, endeavours 
to shew that the poor do more work in cheap 
than in dear years, by comparing the quantity 
and value of the goods made upon those different 
occasions in three different manufactures
one of coarse woollens, carried on at 
Elbeuf; one of linen, and another of silk
both which extend through the whole generality 
of Rouen. It appears from his account, 
which is copied from the registers of 
the public offices, that the quantity and value 
of the goods made in all those three manufactories 
has generally been greater in cheap than 
in dear years, and that it has always been 
greatest in the cheapest, and least in the dearest 
years. All the three seem to be stationary 
manufactures, or which, though their produce 
may vary somewhat from year to year, are, upon 
the whole, neither going backwards nor 
The manufacture of linen in Scotland, and 
that of coarse woollens in the West Riding of 
Yorkshire, are growing manufactures, of which 
the produce is generally, though with some 
variations, increasing both in quantity and value. 
Upon examining, however, the accounts 
which have been published of their annual 
produce, I have not been able to observe that 
its variations have had any sensible connection 
with the dearness or cheapness of the seasons. 
In 1740, a year of great scarcity, both manufactures
indeed, appear to have declined very 
considerably. But in 1756, another year of 
great scarcity, the Scotch manufactures made 
more than ordinary advances. The Yorkshire 
manufacture, indeed, declined, and its produce 
did not rise to what it had been in 1755, 
till 1766, after the repeal of the American 
stamp act. In that and the following year
it greatly exceeded what it had ever been before, 
and it has continued to advance ever 
The produce of all great manufactures for 
distant sale must necessarily depend, not so 
much upon the dearness or cheapness of the 
seasons in the countries where they are carried 
on, as upon the circumstances which affect the 
demand in the countries where they are consumed
upon peace or war, upon the prosperity 
or declension of other rival manufactures
and upon the good or bad humour of their 
principal customers. A great part of the extraordinary 
work, besides, which is probably 
done in cheap years, never enters the public 
registers of manufactures. The men-servants
who leave their masters, become independent