of the century, and the rents of many 
Highland estates have been tripled and quadrupled 
in the same time. In almost every 
part of Great Britain, a pound of the best 
butcher's meat is, in the present times 
generally worth more than two pounds of the best 
white bread; and in plentiful years it is sometimes 
worth three or four pounds. 
It is thus that, in the progress of improvement
the rent and profit of unimproved pasture 
come to be regulated in some measure by 
the rent and profit of what is improved, and 
these again by the rent and profit of corn
Corn is an annual crop; butcher's meat, a crop 
which requires four or five years to grow. As 
an acre of land, therefore, will produce a much 
smaller quantity of the one species of food 
than of the other, the inferiority of the 
quantity must be compensated by the superiority 
of the price. If it was more than compensated
more corn-land would be turned into 
pasture; and if it was not compensated, part 
of what was in pasture would be brought back 
into corn
This equality, however, between the rent 
and profit of grass and those of corn; of the 
land of which the immediate produce is food 
for cattle, and of that of which the immediate 
produce is food for men, must be understood 
to take place only through the greater part of 
the improved lands of a great country. In 
some particular local situations it is quite 
otherwise, and the rent and profit of grass are 
much superior to what can be made by corn
Thus, in the neighbourhood of a great town
the demand for milk, and for forage to horses, 
frequently contribute, together with the high 
price of butcher's meat, to raise the value of 
grass above what may be called its natural 
proportion to that of corn. This local advantage, 
it is evident, cannot be communicated to 
the lands at a distance
Particular circumstances have sometimes 
rendered some countries so populous, that the 
whole territory, like the lands in the neighbourhood 
of a great town, has not been sufficient 
to produce both the grass and the corn 
necessary for the subsistence of their inhabitants
Their lands, therefore, have been principally 
employed in the production of grass
the more bulky commodity, and which cannot 
be so easily brought from a great distance
and corn, the food of the great body of the 
people, has been chiefly imported from foreign 
countries. Holland is at present in this 
situation; and a considerable part of ancient 
Italy seems to have been so during the prosperity 
of the Romans. To feed well, old Cato 
said, as we are told by Cicero, was the first 
and most profitable thing in the management 
of a private estate; to feed tolerably well, the 
second; and to feed ill, the third. To plough, 
he ranked only in the fourth place of profit 
and advantage. Tillage, indeed, in that part 
of ancient Italy which lay in the neighbourhood 
of Rome, must have been very much 
discouraged by the distributions of corn which 
were frequently made to the people, either 
gratuitously, or at a very low price. This 
corn was brought from the conquered provinces, 
of which several, instead of taxes, were 
obliged to furnish a tenth part of their produce 
at a stated price, about sixpence a-peck
to the republic. The low price at which this 
corn was distributed to the people, must 
necessarily have sunk the price of what could be 
brought to the Roman market from Latium
or the ancient territory of Rome, and must 
have discouraged its cultivation in that country
In an open country, too, of which the principal 
produce is corn, a well-inclosed piece of 
grass will frequently rent higher than any 
corn field in its neighbourhood. It is convenient 
for the maintenance of the cattle employed 
in the cultivation of the corn; and its 
high rent is, in this case, not so properly paid 
from the value of its own produce, as from 
that of the corn lands which are cultivated by 
means of it. It is likely to fall, if ever the 
neighbouring lands are completely inclosed
The present high rent of inclosed land in 
Scotland seems owing to the scarcity of 
inclosure, and will probably last no longer than 
that scarcity. The advantage of inclosure is 
greater for pasture than for corn. It saves 
the labour of guarding the cattle, which feed 
better, too, when they are not liable to be 
disturbed by their keeper or his dog. 
But where these is no local advantage of 
this kind, the rent and profit of corn, or 
whatever else is the common vegetable food of the 
people, must naturally regulate upon the land 
which is fit for producing it, the rent and 
profit of pasture
The use of the artificial grasses, of turnips
carrots, cabbages, and the other expedients 
which have been fallen upon to make an equal 
quantity of land feed a greater number of 
cattle than when in natural grass, should 
somewhat reduce, it might be expected, the 
superiority which, in an improved country
the price of butcher's meat naturally has over 
that of bread. It seems accordingly to have 
done so, and there is some reason for believing 
that, at least in the London market, the 
price of butcher's meat, in proportion to the 
price of bread, is a good deal lower in the 
present times than it was in the beginning 
of the last century
In the Appendix to the life of Prince Henry
Doctor Birch has given us an account of 
the prices of butcher's meat as commonly paid 
by that prince. It is there said, that the four 
quarters of an ox, weighing six hundred 
pounds, usually cost him nine pounds ten 
shillings, or thereabouts; that is thirty-one 
shillings and eight-pence per hundred pounds 
weight. Prince Henry died on the 6th of 
November 1612, in the nineteenth year of his age.