Third Sort.—The third and last sort of rude 
produce, of which the price naturally rises in 
the progress of improvement, is that in which 
the efficacy of human industry, in augmenting 
the quantity, is either limited or uncertain
Though the real price of this sort of 
rude produce, therefore, naturally tends to 
rise in the progress of improvement, yet, according 
as different accidents happen to render 
the efforts of human industry more or less 
successful in augmenting the quantity, it may 
happen sometimes even to fall, sometimes to 
continue the same, in very different periods of 
improvement, and sometimes to rise more or 
less in the same period
There are some sorts of rude produce which 
nature has rendered a kind of appendages to 
other sorts; so that the quantity of the one 
which any country can afford, is necessarily 
limited by that of the other. The quantity 
of wool or of raw hides, for example, which 
any country can afford, is necessarily limited 
by the number of great and small cattle that 
are kept in it. The state of its improvement
and the nature of its agriculture, again necessarily 
determine this number. 
The same causes which, in the progress of 
improvement, gradually raise the price of 
butcher's meat, should have the same effect
it may be thought, upon the prices of wool 
and raw hides, and raise them, too, nearly in 
the same proportion. It probably would be 
so, if, in the rude beginnings of improvement
the market for the latter commodities was 
confined within as narrow bounds as that for 
the former. But the extent of their respective 
markets is commonly extremely different. 
The market for butcher's meat is almost 
everywhere confined to the country which 
produces it. Ireland, and some part of British 
America, indeed, carry on a considerable 
trade in salt provisions; but they are, I believe, 
the only countries in the commercial 
world which do so, or which export to other 
countries any considerable part of their butcher's 
The market for wool and raw hides, on the 
contrary, is, in the rude beginnings of improvement
very seldom confined to the country 
which produces them. They can easily 
be transported to distant countries; wool without 
any preparation, and raw hides with very 
little; and as they are the materials of many 
manufactures, the industry of other countries 
may occasion a demand for them, though that 
of the country which produces them might 
not occasion any. 
In countries ill cultivated, and therefore 
but thinly inhabited, the price of the wool and 
the hide bears always a much greater proportion 
to that of the whole beast, than in countries 
where, improvement and population being 
further advanced, there is more demand 
for butcher's meat. Mr Hume observes, that 
in the Saxon times, the fleece was estimated 
at two-fifths of the value of the whole sheep
and that this was much above the proportion 
of its present estimation. In some provinces 
of Spain, I have been assured, the sheep is 
frequently killed merely for the sake of the 
fleece and the tallow. The carcase is often 
left to rot upon the ground, or to be devoured 
by beasts and birds of prey. If this sometimes 
happens even in Spain, it happens almost 
constantly in Chili, at Buenos Ayres
and in many other parts of Spanish America
where the horned cattle are almost constantly 
killed merely for the sake of the hide and the 
tallow. This, too, used to happen almost constantly 
in Hispaniola, while it was infested by 
the buccaneers, and before the settlement, improvement
and populousness of the French 
plantations (which now extend round the coast 
of almost the whole western half of the island
had given some value to the cattle of the Spaniards, 
who still continue to possess, not only 
the eastern part of the coast, but the whole 
inland mountainous part of the country
Though, in the progress of improvement 
and population, the price of the whole beast 
necessarily rises, yet the price of the carcase 
is likely to be much more affected by this rise 
than that of the wool and the hide. The market 
for the carcase being in the rude state of 
society confined always to the country which 
produces it, must necessarily be extended in 
proportion to the improvement and population 
of that country. But the market for the 
wool and the hides, even of a barbarous country
often extending to the whole commercial 
world, it can very seldom be enlarged in the 
same proportion. The state of the whole commercial 
world can seldom be much affected 
by the improvement of any particular country
and the market for such commodities 
may remain the same, or very nearly the same, 
after such improvements, as before. It should, 
however, in the natural course of things, rather, 
upon the whole, be somewhat extended 
in consequence of them. If the manufactures
especially, of which those commodities 
are the materials, should ever come to flourish 
in the country, the market, though it might 
not be much enlarged, would at least be 
brought much nearer to the place of growth 
than before; and the price of those materials 
might at least be increased by what had usually 
been the expense of transporting them to 
distant countries. Though it might not rise
therefore, in the same proportion as that of 
butcher's meat, it ought naturally to rise somewhat, 
and it ought certainly not to fall
In England, however, notwithstanding the 
flourishing state of its woollen manufacture
the price of English wool has fallen very considerably 
since the time of Edward III. There 
are many authentic records which demonstrate