The great commerce of every civilized society 
is that carried on between the inhabitants of 
the town and those of the country. It consists 
in the exchange of rude for manufactured 
produce, either immediately, or by the intervention 
of money, or of some sort of paper 
which represents money. The country supplies 
the town with the means of subsistence 
and the materials of manufacture. The town 
repays this supply, by sending back a part of 
the manufactured produce to the inhabitants 
of the country. The town, in which there 
neither is nor can be any reproduction of substances
may very properly be said to gain its 
whole wealth and subsistence from the country
We must not, however, upon this account
imagine that the gain of the town is the 
loss of the country. The gains of both are 
mutual and reciprocal, and the division of labour 
is in this, as in all other cases, advantageous 
to all the different persons employed in 
the various occupations into which it is subdivided
The inhabitants of the country purchase 
of the town a greater quantity of manufactured 
goods with the produce of a much 
smaller quantity of their own labour, than 
they must have employed had they attempted 
to prepare them themselves. The town affords 
a market for the surplus produce of the country
or what is over and above the maintenance 
of the cultivators; and it is there that the inhabitants 
of the country exchange it for something 
else which is in demand among them. 
The greater the number and revenue of the 
inhabitants of the town, the more extensive is 
the market which it affords to those of the 
country; and the more extensive that market
it is always the more advantageous to a great 
number. The corn which grows within a mile 
of the town, sells there for the same price with 
that which comes from twenty miles distance
But the price of the latter must, generally, 
not only pay the expense of raising it and 
bringing it to market, but afford, too, the ordinary 
profits of agriculture to the farmer
The proprietors and cultivators of the country
therefore, which lies in the neighbourhood 
of the town, over and above the ordinary profits 
of agriculture, gain, in the price of what 
they sell, the whole value of the carriage of 
the like produce that is brought from more 
distant parts; and they save, besides, the whole 
value of this carriage in the price of what they 
buy. Compare the cultivation of the lands in 
the neighbourhood of any considerable town
with that of those which lie at some distance 
from it, and you will easily satisfy yourself 
how much the country is benefited by the commerce 
of the town. Among all the absurd 
speculations that have been propagated concerning 
the balance of trade, it has never been 
pretended that either the country loses by its 
commerce with the town, or the town by that 
with the country which maintains it. 
As subsistence is, in the nature of things
prior to conveniency and luxury, so the industry 
which procures the former, must necessarily 
be prior to that which ministers to the 
latter. The cultivation and improvement of 
the country, therefore, which affords subsistence
must, necessarily, be prior to the increase 
of the town, which furnishes only the 
means of conveniency and luxury. It is the 
surplus produce of the country only, or what 
is over and above the maintenance of the cultivators
that constitutes the subsistence of the 
town, which can therefore increase only with 
the increase of the surplus produce. The 
town, indeed, may not always derive its whole 
subsistence from the country in its neighbourhood
or even from the territory to which it 
belongs, but from very distant countries; and 
this, though it forms no exception from the 
general rule, has occasioned considerable variations 
in the progress of opulence in different 
ages and nations
That order of things which necessity imposes, 
in general, though not in every particular