exchanged for something for which there is 
some demand at home. But whether the capital 
which carries this surplus produce abroad 
be a foreign or a domestic one, is of very little 
importance. If the society has not acquired 
sufficient capital, both to cultivate all its lands, 
and to manufacture in the completest manner 
the whole of its rude produce, there is even a 
considerable advantage that the rude produce 
should be exported by a foreign capital, in 
order that the whole stock of the society may 
be employed in more useful purposes. The 
wealth of ancient Egypt, that of China and 
Indostan, sufficiently demonstrate that a nation 
may attain a very high degree of opulence
though the greater part of its exportation 
trade be carried on by foreigners. The 
progress of our North American and West 
Indian colonies, would have been much less 
rapid, had no capital but what belonged to 
themselves been employed in exporting their 
surplus produce
According to the natural course of things
therefore, the greater part of the capital of 
every growing society is, first, directed to agriculture
afterwards to manufactures, and, 
last of all, to foreign commerce. This order 
of things is so very natural, that in every society 
that had any territory, it has always, I 
believe, been in some degree observed. Some 
of their lands must have been cultivated before 
any considerable towns could be established
and some sort of coarse industry of 
the manufacturing kind must have been carried 
on in those towns, before they could well 
think of employing themselves in foreign commerce
But though this natural order of things must 
have taken place in some degree in every such 
society, it has, in all the modern states of Europe
been in many respects entirely inverted
The foreign commerce of some of their cities 
has introduced all their finer manufactures, or 
such as were fit for distant sale; and manufactures 
and foreign commerce together have 
given birth to the principal improvements of 
agriculture. The manners and customs which 
the nature of their original government introduced
and which remained after that government 
was greatly altered, necessarily forced 
them into this unnatural and retrograde order
When the German and Scythian nations overran 
the western provinces of the Roman empire
the confusions which followed so great
revolution lasted for several centuries. The 
rapine and violence which the barbarians exercised 
against the ancient inhabitants, interrupted 
the commerce between the towns and 
the country. The towns were deserted, and 
the country was left uncultivated; and the 
western provinces of Europe, which had enjoyed 
a considerable degree of opulence under 
the Roman empire, sunk into the lowest state 
of poverty and barbarism. During the continuance 
of those confusions, the chiefs and 
principal leaders of those nations acquired, or 
usurped to themselves, the greater part of the 
lands of those countries. A great part of 
them was uncultivated; but no part of them, 
whether cultivated or uncultivated, was left 
without a proprietor. All of them were engrossed
and the greater part by a few great 
This original engrossing of uncultivated 
lands, though a great, might have been but a 
transitory evil. They might soon have been 
divided again, and broke into small parcels
either by succession or by alienation. The 
law of primogeniture hindered them from being 
divided by succession; the introduction of entails 
prevented their being broke into small 
parcels by alienation
When land, like moveables, is considered 
as the means only of subsistence and enjoyment
the natural law of succession divides it, 
like them, among all the children of the family
of all of whom the subsistence and enjoyment 
may be supposed equally dear to the father
This natural law of succession, accordingly, 
took place among the Romans, who 
made no more distinction between elder and 
younger, between male and female, in the inheritance 
of lands, than we do in the distribution 
of moveables. But when land was considered 
as the means, not of subsistence merely, 
but of power and protection, it was thought 
better that it should descend undivided to one. 
In those disorderly times, every great landlord 
was a sort of petty prince. His tenants were 
his subjects. He was their judge, and in some 
respects their legislator in peace and their 
leader in war. He made war according to 
his own discretion, frequently against his 
neighbours, and sometimes against his sovereign. 
The security of a landed estate, therefore, 
the protection which its owner could afford 
to those who dwelt on it, depended upon 
its greatness. To divide it was to ruin it, and 
to expose every part of it to be oppressed and 
swallowed up by the incursions of its neighbours
The law of primogeniture, therefore, 
came to take place, not immediately indeed, 
but in process of time, in the succession of 
landed estates, for the same reason that it has 
generally taken place in that of monarchies
though not always at their first institution. 
That the power, and consequently the security 
of the monarchy, may not be weakened by division, 
it must descend entire to one of the