the superabundance of wine. By act of assembly, 
they have restrained its cultivation to 
six thousand plants, supposed to yield a thousand 
weight of tobacco, for every negro between 
sixteen and sixty years of age. Such 
a negro, over and above this quantity of tobacco
can manage, they reckon, four acres of 
Indian corn. To prevent the market from 
being overstocked, too, they have sometimes, 
in plentiful years, we are told by Dr Douglas[15] 
(I suspect he has been ill informed), 
burnt a certain quantity of tobacco for every 
negro, in the same manner as the Dutch are 
said to do of spices. If such violent methods 
are necessary to keep up the present price of 
tobacco, the superior advantage of its culture 
over that of corn, if it still has any, will not 
probably be of long continuance. 
It is in this manner that the rent of the cultivated 
land, of which the produce is human 
food, regulates the rent of the greater part of 
other cultivated land. No particular produce 
can long afford less, because the land would 
immediately be turned to another use; and if 
any particular produce commonly affords more, 
it is because the quantity of land which can 
be fitted for it is too small to supply the effectual 
In Europe, corn is the principal produce of 
land, which serves immediately for human 
food. Except in particular situations, therefore, 
the rent of corn land regulates in Europe 
that of all other cultivated land. Britain need 
envy neither the vineyards of France, nor the 
olive plantations of Italy. Except in particular 
situations, the value of these is regulated 
by that of corn, in which the fertility of Britain 
is not much inferior to that of either of 
those two countries. 
If, in any country, the common and favourite 
vegetable food of the people should be 
drawn from a plant, of which the most common 
land, with the same, or nearly the same 
culture, produced a much greater quantity 
than the most fertile does of corn; the rent of 
the landlord, or the surplus quantity of food 
which would remain to him, after paying the 
labour, and replacing the stock of the farmer
together with its ordinary profits, would necessarily 
be much greater. Whatever was the 
rate at which labour was commonly maintained 
in that country, this greater surplus could 
always maintain a greater quantity of it, and, 
consequently, enable the landlord to purchase 
or command a greater quantity of it. The 
real value of his rent, his real power and authority, 
his command of the necessaries and 
conveniencies of life with which the labour of 
other people could supply him, would necessarily 
be much greater. 
A rice field produces a much greater quantity 
of food than the most fertile corn field. 
Two crops in the year, from thirty to sixty 
bushels each, are said to be the ordinary produce 
of an acre. Though its cultivation
therefore, requires more labour, a much greater 
surplus remains after maintaining all that 
labour. In those rice countries, therefore, 
where rice is the common and favourite vegetable 
food of the people, and where the cultivators 
are chiefly maintained with it, a greater 
share of this greater surplus should belong to 
the landlord than in corn countries. In Carolina
where the planters, as in other British 
colonies, are generally both farmers and landlords
and where rent, consequently, is confounded 
with profit, the cultivation of rice is 
found to be more profitable than that of corn
though their fields produce only one crop in 
the year, and though, from the prevalence of 
the customs of Europe, rice is not there the 
common and favourite vegetable food of the 
A good rice field is a bog at all seasons
and at one season a bog covered with water
It is unfit either for corn, or pasture, or vineyard, 
or, indeed, for any other vegetable produce 
that is very useful to men; and the lands 
which are fit for those purposes are not fit for 
rice. Even in the rice countries, therefore, 
the rent of rice lands cannot regulate the rent 
of the other cultivated land which can never 
be turned to that produce
The food produced by a field of potatoes is 
not inferior in quantity to that produced by a 
field of rice, and much superior to what is 
produced by a field of wheat. Twelve thousand 
weight of potatoes from an acre of land 
is not a greater produce than two thousand 
weight of wheat. The food or solid nourishment
indeed, which can be drawn from each 
of those two plants, is not altogether in proportion 
to their weight, on account of the watery 
nature of potatoes. Allowing, however, 
half the weight of this root to go to water, a 
very large allowance, such an acre of potatoes 
will still produce six thousand weight of solid 
nourishment, three times the quantity produced 
by the acre of wheat. An acre of potatoes 
is cultivated with less expense than an 
acre of wheat; the fallow, which generally 
precedes the sowing of wheat, more than compensating 
the hoeing and other extraordinary 
culture which is always given to potatoes
Should this root ever become in any part of 
Europe, like rice in some rice countries, the 
common and favourite vegetable food of the 
people, so as to occupy the same proportion 
of the lands in tillage, which wheat and other 
sorts of grain for human food do at present, 
the same quantity of cultivated land would 
maintain a much greater number of people
and the labourers being generally fed with potatoes
a greater surplus would remain after 
replacing all the stock, and maintaining all 
the labour employed in cultivation. A greater 
share of this surplus, too, would belong to the 
landlord. Population would increase, and