more than necessary subsistence, was established 
in cities long before it was commonly 
practised by the occupiers of land in the country
If, in the hands of a poor cultivator, oppressed 
with the servitude of villanage, some 
little stock should accumulate, he would naturally 
conceal it with great care from his 
master, to whom it would otherwise have belonged
and take the first opportunity of running 
away to a town. The law was at that 
time so indulgent to the inhabitants of towns
and so desirous of diminishing the authority 
of the lords over those of the country, that if 
he could conceal himself there from the pursuit 
of his lord for a year, he was free for 
ever. Whatever stock, therefore, accumulated 
in the hands of the industrious part of the 
inhabitants of the country, naturally took refuge 
in cities, as the only sanctuaries in which 
it could be secure to the person that acquired 
The inhabitants of a city, it is true, must 
always ultimately derive their subsistence, and 
the whole materials and means of their industry
from the country. But those of a city
situated near either the sea-coast or the banks 
of a navigable river, are not necessarily confined 
to derive them from the country in their 
neighbourhood. They have a much wider 
range, and may draw them from the most remote 
corners of the world, either in exchange 
for the manufactured produce of their own industry
or by performing the office of carriers 
between distant countries, and exchanging the 
produce of one for that of another. A city 
might, in this manner, grow up to great wealth 
and splendour, while not only the country in 
its neighbourhood, but all those to which it 
traded, were in poverty and wretchedness
Each of those countries, perhaps, taken singly
could afford it but a small part, either of its 
subsistence or of its employment; but all of 
them taken together, could afford it both a 
great subsistence and a great employment. 
There were, however, within the narrow circle 
of the commerce of those times, some countries 
that were opulent and industrious. Such 
was the Greek empire as long as it subsisted
and that of the Saracens during the reigns of 
the Abassides. Such, too, was Egypt till it 
was conquered by the Turks, some part of the 
coast of Barbary, and all those provinces of 
Spain which were under the government of 
the Moors
The cities of Italy seem to have been the 
first in Europe which were raised by commerce 
to any considerable degree of opulence
Italy lay in the centre of what was at that 
time the improved and civilized part of the 
world. The crusades, too, though, by the 
great waste of stock and destruction of inhabitants 
which they occasioned, they must necessarily 
have retarded the progress of the 
greater part of Europe, were extremely favourable 
to that of some Italian cities. The 
great armies which marched from all parts to 
the conquest of the Holy Land, gave extraordinary 
encouragement to the shipping of Venice, 
Genoa, and Pisa, sometimes in transporting 
them thither, and always in supplying 
them with provisions. They were the commissaries, 
if one may say so, of those armies
and the most destructive frenzy that ever befel 
the European nations, was a source of opulence 
to those republics
The inhabitants of trading cities, by importing 
the improved manufactures and expensive 
luxuries of richer countries, afforded some food 
to the vanity of the great proprietors, who eagerly 
purchased them with great quantities of 
the rude produce of their own lands. The 
commerce of a great part of Europe in those 
times, accordingly, consisted chiefly in the exchange 
of their own rude, for the manufactured 
produce of more civilized nations. Thus 
the wool of England used to be exchanged for 
the wines of France, and the fine cloths of 
Flanders, in the same manner as the corn in 
Poland is at this day, exchanged for the wines 
and brandies of France, and for the silks and 
velvets of France and Italy
A taste for the finer and more improved 
manufactures was, in this manner, introduced 
by foreign commerce into countries where no 
such works were carried on. But when this 
taste became so general as to occasion a considerable 
demand, the merchants, in order to 
save the expense of carriage, naturally endeavoured 
to establish some manufactures of the 
same kind in their own country. Hence the 
origin of the first manufactures for distant 
sale, that seem to have been established in the 
western provinces of Europe, after the fall of 
the Roman empire
No large country, it must be observed, ever 
did or could subsist without some sort of manufactures 
being carried on in it; and when it 
is said of any such country that it has no manufactures
it must always be understood of 
the finer and more improved, or of such as are 
fit for distant sale. In every large country
both the clothing and household furniture of 
the far greater part of the people, are the produce 
of their own industry. This is even 
more universally the case in those poor countries 
which are commonly said to have no manufactures, 
than in those rich ones that are 
said to abound in them. In the latter you will 
generally find, both in the clothes and household 
furniture of the lowest rank of people, a 
much greater proportion of foreign productions 
than in the former. 
Those manufactures which are fit for distant 
sale, seem to have been introduced into 
different countries in two different ways
Sometimes they have been introduced in the 
manner above mentioned, by the violent operation, 
if one may say so, of the stocks of particular 
merchants and undertakers, who established 
them in imitation of some foreign manufactures