that, during the reign of that prince (towards 
the middle of the fourteenth century, or about 
1339), what was reckoned the moderate and 
reasonable price of the tod, or twenty-eight 
pounds of English wool, was not less than ten 
shillings of the money of those times[25], containing, 
at the rate of twenty-pence the ounce, 
six ounces of silver, Tower weight, equal to 
about thirty shillings of our present money. 
In the present times, one-and-twenty shillings 
the tod may be reckoned a good price for very 
good English wool. The money price of wool
therefore, in the time of Edward III. was to 
its money price in the present times as ten to 
seven. The superiority of its real price was 
still greater. At the rate of six shillings and 
eightpence the quarter, ten shillings was in 
those ancient times the price of twelve bushels 
of wheat. At the rate of twenty-eight shillings 
the quarter, one-and-twenty shillings is 
in the present times the price of six bushels 
only. The proportion between the real price 
of ancient and modern times, therefore, is as 
twelve to six, or as two to one. In those ancient 
times, a tod of wool would have purchased 
twice the quantity of subsistence which 
it will purchase at present, and consequently 
twice the quantity of labour, if the real recompence 
of labour had been the same in both 
This degradation, both in the real and nominal 
value of wool, could never have happened 
in consequence of the natural course of 
things. It has accordingly been the effect of 
violence and artifice. First, of the absolute 
prohibition of exporting wool from England
secondly, of the permission of importing it 
from Spain, duty free: thirdly, of the prohibition 
of exporting it from Ireland to any 
other country but England. In consequence 
of these regulations, the market for English 
wool, instead of being somewhat extended, in 
consequence of the improvement of England
has been confined to the home market, where 
the wool of several other countries is allowed 
to come into competition with it, and where 
that of Ireland is forced into competition with 
it. As the woollen manufactures, too, of 
Ireland, are fully as much discouraged as is 
consistent with justice and fair dealing, the 
Irish can work up but a smaller part of their 
own wool at home, and are therefore obliged 
to send a greater proportion of it to Great 
Britain, the only market they are allowed
I have not been able to find any such authentic 
records concerning the price of raw 
hides in ancient times. Wool was commonly 
paid as a subsidy to the king, and its valuation 
in that subsidy ascertains, at least in some 
degree, what was its ordinary price. But this 
seems not to have been the case with raw hides
Fleetwood, however, from an account in 1425, 
between the prior of Burcester Oxford and 
one of his canons, gives us their price, at least 
as it was stated upon that particular ocassion, 
viz. five ox hides at twelve shillings; five cow 
hides at seven shillings and threepence; thirty-six 
sheep skins of two years old at nine shillings
sixteen calf skins at two shillings. In 
1425, twelve shillings contained about the 
same quantity of silver as four-and-twenty 
shillings of our present money. An ox hide
therefore, was in this account valued at the 
same quantity of silver as 4s. 4⁄5ths of our present 
money. Its nominal price was a good 
deal lower than at present. But at the rate 
of six shillings and eightpence the quarter
twelve shillings would in those times have 
purchased fourteen bushels and four-fifths of 
a bushel of wheat, which, at three and sixpence 
the bushel, would in the present times 
cost 51s. 4d. An ox hide, therefore, would 
in those times have purchased as much corn 
as ten shillings and threepence would purchase 
at present. Its real value was equal to 
ten shillings and threepence of our present 
money. In those ancient times, when the 
cattle were half starved during the greater 
part of the winter, we cannot suppose that 
they were of a very large size. An ox hide 
which weighs four stone of sixteen pounds of 
avoirdupois, is not in the present times reckoned 
a bad one; and in those ancient times 
would probably have been reckoned a very 
good one. But at half-a-crown the stone
which at this moment (February 1773) I understand 
to be the common price, such a hide 
would at present cost only ten shillings.—Though 
its nominal price, therefore, is higher 
in the present than it was in those ancient 
times, its real price, the real quantity of subsistence 
which it will purchase or command, is 
rather somewhat lower. The price of cow 
hides, as stated in the above account, is nearly 
in the common proportion to that of ox hides
That of sheep skins is a good deal above it. 
They had probably been sold with the wool
That of calves skins, on the contrary, is greatly 
below it. In countries where the price of 
cattle is very low, the calves, which are not 
intended to be reared in order to keep up the 
stock, are generally killed very young, as was 
the case in Scotland twenty or thirty years 
ago. It saves the milk, which their price 
would not pay for. Their skins, therefore, 
are commonly good for little. 
The price of raw hides is a good deal lower 
at present than it was a few years ago
owing probably to the taking off the duty upon 
seal skins, and to the allowing, for a limited 
time, the importation of raw hides from 
Ireland, and from the plantations, duty free
which was done in 1769. Take the whole of 
the present century at an average, their real 
price has probably been somewhat higher than 
it was in those ancient times. The nature of 
the commodity renders it not quite so proper