labour employed within it, tends indirectly to 
raise the real rent of land. A certain proportion 
of this labour naturally goes to the land. 
A greater number of men and cattle are employed 
in its cultivation, the produce increases 
with the increase of the stock which is thus 
employed in raising it, and the rent increases 
with the produce
The contrary circumstances, the neglect of 
cultivation and improvement, the fall in the 
real price of any part of the rude produce of 
land, the rise in the real price of manufactures 
from the decay of manufacturing art and industry
the declension of the real wealth of 
the society, all tend, on the other hand, to 
lower the real rent of land, to reduce the real 
wealth of the landlord, to diminish his power 
of purchasing either the labour, or the produce 
of the labour, of other people. 
The whole annual produce of the land and 
labour of every country, or, what comes to the 
same thing, the whole price of that annual 
produce, naturally divides itself, it has already 
been observed, into three parts; the rent of 
land, the wages of labour, and the profits of 
stock; and constitutes a revenue to three different 
orders of people; to those who live by 
rent, to these who live by wages, and to those 
who live by profit. These are the three great, 
original, and constituent, orders of every civilized 
society, from whose revenue that of every 
other order is ultimately derived. 
The interest of the first of those three great 
orders, it appears from what has been just now 
said, is strictly and inseparably connected with 
the general interest of the society. Whatever 
either promotes or obstructs the one, necessarily 
promotes or obstructs the other. When 
the public deliberates concerning any regulation 
of commerce or police, the proprietors of 
land never can mislead it, with a view to promote 
the interest of their own particular order
at least, if they have any tolerable knowledge 
of that interest. They are, indeed, too 
often defective in this tolerable knowledge
They are the only one of the three orders 
whose revenue costs them neither labour nor 
care, but comes to them, as it were, of its own 
accord, and independent of any plan or project 
of their own. That indolence which is 
the natural effect of the ease and security of 
their situation, renders them too often, not 
only ignorant, but incapable of that application 
of mind, which is necessary in order to 
foresee and understand the consequence of any 
public regulation
The interest of the second order, that of 
those who live by wages, is as strictly connected 
with the interest of the society as that of the 
first. The wages of the labourer, it has already 
been shewn, are never so high as when 
the demand for labour is continually rising, 
or when the quantity employed is every year 
increasing considerably. When this real wealth 
of the society becomes stationary, his wages 
are soon reduced to what is barely enough to 
enable him to bring up a family, or to continue 
the race of labourers. When the society 
declines, they fall even below this. The 
order of proprietors may perhaps gain more 
by the prosperity of the society than that of 
labourers; but there is no order that suffers 
so cruelly from its decline. But though the 
interest of the labourer is strictly connected 
with that of the society, he is incapable either 
of comprehending that interest, or of understanding 
its connexion with his own. His 
condition leaves him no time to receive the 
necessary information, and his education and 
habits are commonly such as to render him 
unfit to judge, even though he was fully informed. 
In the public deliberations, therefore, 
his voice is little heard, and less regarded; 
except upon particular occasions, when 
his clamour is animated, set on, and supported 
by his employers, not for him, but their 
own particular purposes. 
His employers constitute the third order, 
that of those who live by profit. It is the 
stock that is employed for the sake of profit
which puts into motion the greater part of the 
useful labour of every society. The plans and 
projects of the employers of stock regulate and 
direct all the most important operations of labour
and profit is the end proposed by all 
those plans and projects. But the rate of 
profit does not, like rent and wages, rise with 
the prosperity, and fall with the declension of 
the society. On the contrary, it is naturally 
low in rich, and high in poor countries, and 
it is always highest in the countries which are 
going fastest to ruin. The interest of this 
third order, therefore, has not the same connexion 
with the general interest of the society
as that of the other two. Merchants and 
master manufacturers are, in this order, the 
two classes of people who commonly employ 
the largest capitals, and who by their wealth 
draw to themselves the greatest share of the 
public consideration. As during their whole 
lives they are engaged in plans and projects, 
they have frequently more acuteness of understanding 
than the greater part of country 
gentlemen. As their thoughts, however, are 
commonly exercised rather about the interest 
of their own particular branch of business 
than about that of the society, their judgment, 
even when given with the greatest candour 
(which it has not been upon every occasion), 
is much more to be depended upon with regard 
to the former of those two objects, than 
with regard to the latter. Their superiority 
over the country gentleman is, not so much in 
their knowledge of the public interest, as in 
their having a better knowledge of their own 
interest than he has of his. It is by this superior 
knowledge of their own interest that 
they have frequently imposed upon his generosity
and persuaded him to give up both his 
own interest and that of the public, from a