sea, by the number of its lakes and rivers, and 
by what may be called the fertility or barrenness 
of those seas, lakes, and rivers, as to this 
sort of rude produce. As population increases
as the annual produce of the land and 
labour of the country grows greater and greater
there come to be more buyers of fish; and 
those buyers, too, have a greater quantity and 
variety of other goods, or, what is the same 
thing, the price of a greater quantity and variety 
of other goods, to buy with. But it will 
generally be impossible to supply the great 
and extended market, without employing
quantity of labour greater than in proportion 
to what had been requisite for supplying the 
narrow and confined one. A market which, 
from requiring only one thousand, comes to 
require annually ten thousand ton of fish, can 
seldom be supplied, without employing more 
than ten times the quantity of labour which 
had before been sufficient to supply it. The 
fish must generally be sought for at a greater 
distance, larger vessels must be employed, and 
more expensive machinery of every kind made 
use of. The real price of this commodity
therefore, naturally rises in the progress of 
improvement. It has accordingly done so, I 
believe, more or less in every country
Though the success of a particular day's 
fishing may be a very uncertain matter, yet 
the local situation of the country being supposed
the general efficacy of industry in bringing 
a certain quantity of fish to market, taking 
the course of a year, or of several years 
together, it may, perhaps, be thought is certain 
enough; and it, no doubt, is so. As it 
depends more, however, upon the local situation 
of the country, than upon the state of its 
wealth and industry; as upon this account it 
may in different countries be the same in very 
different periods of improvement, and very 
different in the same period; its connection 
with the state of improvement is uncertain
and it is of this sort of uncertainty that I am 
here speaking. 
In increasing the quantity of the different 
minerals and metals which are drawn from the 
bowels of the earth, that of the more precious 
ones particularly, the efficacy of human industry 
seems not to be limited, but to be altogether 
The quantity of the precious metals which 
is to be found in any country, is not limited 
by any thing in its local situation, such as the 
fertility or barrenness of its own mines. Those 
metals frequently abound in countries which 
possess no mines. Their quantity, in every 
particular country, seems to depend upon two 
different circumstances; first, upon its power 
of purchasing, upon the state of its industry
upon the annual produce of its land and labour, 
in consequence of which it can afford 
to employ a greater or a smaller quantity of 
labour and subsistence, in bringing or purchasing 
such superfluities as gold and silver
either from its own mines, or from those of 
other countries; and, secondly, upon the fertility 
or barrenness of the mines which may 
happen at any particular time to supply the 
commercial world with those metals. The 
quantity of those metals in the countries most 
remote from the mines, must be more or less 
affected by this fertility or barrenness, on account 
of the easy and cheap transportation of 
those metals, of their small bulk and great 
value. Their quantity in China and Indostan 
must have been more or less affected by the 
abundance of the mines of America
So far as their quantity in any particular 
country depends upon the former of those two 
circumstances (the power of purchasing), their 
real price, like that of all other luxuries and 
superfluities, is likely to rise with the wealth 
and improvement of the country, and to fall 
with its poverty and depression. Countries 
which have a great quantity of labour and 
subsistence to spare, can afford to purchase 
any particular quantity of those metals at the 
expense of a greater quantity of labour and 
subsistence, than countries which have less to 
So far as their quantity in any particular 
country depends upon the latter of those two 
circumstances (the fertility or barrenness of 
the mines which happen to supply the commercial 
world), their real price, the real quantity 
of labour and subsistence which they will 
purchase or exchange for, will, no doubt
sink more or less in proportion to the fertility
and rise in proportion to the barrenness of 
those mines
The fertility or barrenness of the mines
however, which may happen at any particular 
time to supply the commercial world, is a 
circumstance which, it is evident, may have 
no sort of connection with the state of industry 
in a particular country. It seems even to 
have no very necessary connection with that 
of the world in general. As arts and commerce
indeed, gradually spread themselves 
over a greater and a greater part of the earth, 
the search for new mines, being extended over 
a wider surface, may have somewhat a better 
chance for being successful than when confined 
within narrower bounds. The discovery 
of new mines, however, as the old ones come 
to be gradually exhausted, is a matter of the 
greatest uncertainty, and such as no human 
skill or industry can insure. All indications, 
it is acknowledged, are doubtful; and the actual 
discovery and successful working of a 
new mine can alone ascertain the reality of its 
value, or even of its existence. In this search 
there seem to be no certain limits, either to 
the possible success, or to the possible disappointment 
of human industry. In the course 
of a century or two, it is possible that new 
mines may be discovered, more fertile than 
any that have ever yet been known, and it is 
just equally possible, that the most fertile mine