In March 1764, there was a parliamentary 
inquiry into the causes of the high price of 
provisions at that time. It was then, among 
other proof to the same purpose, given in evidence 
by a Virginia merchant, that in March 
1763, he had victualled his ships for twenty-four 
or twenty-five shillings the hundred 
weight of beef, which he considered as the ordinary 
price; whereas, in that dear year, he 
had paid twenty-seven shillings for the same 
weight and sort. This high price in 1764 is, 
however, four shillings and eight-pence cheaper 
than the ordinary price paid by Prince 
Henry; and it is the best beef only, it must 
be observed, which is fit to be salted for those 
distant voyages. 
The price paid by Prince Henry amounts 
to 3d. 4-5ths per pound weight of the whole 
carcase, coarse and choice pieces taken together; 
and at that rate the choice pieces could 
not have been sold by retail for less than 4½d. 
or 5d. the pound. 
In the parliamentary inquiry in 1764, the 
witnesses stated the price of the choice pieces 
of the best beef to be to the consumer 4d. and 
4½d. the pound; and the coarse pieces in general 
to be from seven farthings to 2½d. and 
2¾d.; and this, they said, was in general one 
halfpenny dearer than the same sort of pieces 
had usually been sold in the month of March
But even this high price is still a good deal 
cheaper than what we can well suppose the 
ordinary retail price to have been in the time 
of Prince Henry
During the first twelve years of the last century
the average price of the best wheat at 
the Windsor market was L.1 : 18 : 3½d. the 
quarter of nine Winchester bushels. 
But in the twelve years preceding 1764, 
including that year, the average price of the 
same measure of the best wheat at the same 
market was L.2 : 1 : 9½d. 
In the first twelve years of the last century
therefore, wheat appears to have been a good 
deal cheaper, and butcher's meat a good deal 
dearer, than in the twelve years preceding 
1764, including that year
In all great countries, the greater part of 
the cultivated lands are employed in producing 
either food for men or food for cattle
The rent and profit of these regulate the rent 
and profit of all other cultivated land. If any 
particular produce afforded less, the land would 
soon be turned into corn or pasture; and if 
any afforded more, some part of the lands in 
corn or pasture would soon be turned to that 
Those productions, indeed, which require 
either a greater original expense of improvement
or a greater annual expense of cultivation 
in order to fit the land for them, appear 
commonly to afford, the one a greater rent
the other a greater profit, than corn pasture
This superiority, however, will seldom 
be found to amount to more than a reasonable 
interest or compensation for this superior 
In a hop garden, a fruit garden, a kitchen 
garden, both the rent of the landlord, and the 
profit of the farmer, are generally greater than 
in a corn or grass field. But to bring the 
ground into this condition requires more expense. 
Hence a greater rent becomes due to 
the landlord. It requires, too, a more attentive 
and skilful management. Hence a greater 
profit becomes due to the farmer. The 
crop, too, at least in the hop and fruit garden
is more precarious. Its price, therefore, besides 
compensating all occasional losses, must 
afford something like the profit of insurance. 
The circumstances of gardeners, generally 
mean, and always moderate, may satisfy us 
that their great ingenuity is not commonly 
over-recompensed. Their delightful art is 
practised by so many rich people for amusement, 
that little advantage is to be made by 
these who practise it for profit; because the 
persons who should naturally be their best 
customers, supply themselves with all their 
most precious productions
The advantage which the landlord derives 
from such improvements, seems at no time to 
have been greater than what was sufficient to 
compensate the original expense of making 
them. In the ancient husbandry, after the 
vineyard, a well-watered kitchen garden seems 
to have been the part of the farm which was 
supposed to yield the most valuable produce. 
But Democritus, who wrote upon husbandry 
about two thousand years ago, and who was 
regarded by the ancients as one of the fathers 
the of the art, thought they did not act wisely 
who inclosed a kitchen garden. The profit
he said, would not compensate the expense of 
a stone-wall: and bricks (he meant, I suppose
bricks baked in the sun) mouldered with 
the rain and the winter-storm, and required 
continual repairs. Columella, who reports 
this judgment of Democritus, does not controvert 
it, but proposes a very frugal method 
of inclosing with a hedge of brambles and 
briars, which he says he had found by experience 
to be both a lasting and an impenetrable 
fence; but which, it seems, was not commonly 
known in the time of Democritus. Palladius 
adopts the opinion of Columella, which 
had before been recommended by Varro. In 
the judgment of these ancient improvers, the 
produce of a kitchen garden had, it seems, 
been little more than sufficient to pay the extraordinary 
culture and the expense of watering; 
for in countries so near the sun, it was 
thought proper, in those times as in the present
to have the command of a stream of water, 
which could be conducted to every bed in 
the garden. Through the greater part of Europe, 
a kitchen garden is not at present supposed 
to deserve a better inclosure than that 
recommended by Columella. In Great Britain, 
and some other northern countries, the