on in their own, and is much greater, on account 
of the great riches and extent of those 
colonies. But it has never introduced any 
considerable manufactures for distant sale into 
either of those countries, and the greater 
part of both still remains uncultivated. The 
foreign commerce of Portugal is of older 
standing than that of any great country in 
Europe, except Italy
Italy is the only great country of Europe 
which seems to have been cultivated and improved 
in every part, by means of foreign 
commerce and manufactures for distant sale
Before the invasion of Charles VIII., Italy
according to Guicciardini, was cultivated not 
less in the most mountainous and barren parts 
of the country, than in the plainest and most 
fertile. The advantageous situation of the 
country, and the great number of independent 
states which at that time subsisted in it, probably 
contributed not a little to this general 
cultivation. It is not impossible, too, notwithstanding 
this general expression of one of 
the most judicious and reserved of modern 
historians, that Italy was not at that time better 
cultivated than England is at present. 
The capital, however, that is acquired to 
any country by commerce and manufactures, 
is always a very precarious and uncertain possession
till some part of it has been secured 
and realized in the cultivation and improvement 
of its lands. A merchant, it has been 
said very properly, is not necessarily the citizen 
of any particular country. It is in a 
great measure indifferent to him from what 
place he carries on his trade; and a very trifling 
disgust will make him remove his capital, 
and, together with it, all the industry which 
it supports, from one country to another. No 
part of it can be said to belong to any particular 
country, till it has been spread, as it 
were, over the face of that country, either in 
buildings, or in the lasting improvement of 
lands. No vestige now remains of the great 
wealth said to have been possessed by the 
greater part of the Hanse Towns, except in 
the obscure histories of the thirteenth and 
fourteenth centuries. It is even uncertain 
where some of them were situated, or to 
what towns in Europe the Latin names given 
to some of them belong. But though the 
misfortunes of Italy, in the end of the fifteenth 
and beginning of the sixteenth centuries
greatly diminished the commerce and manufactures 
of the cities of Lombardy and Tuscany, 
those countries still continue to be among 
the most populous and best cultivated 
in Europe. The civil wars of Flanders, and 
the Spanish government which succeeded them, 
chased away the great commerce of Antwerp, 
Ghent, and Bruges. But Flanders still continues 
to be one of the richest, best cultivated
and most populous provinces of Europe. The 
ordinary revolutions of war and government 
easily dry up the sources of that wealth which 
arises from commerce only. That which arises 
from the more solid improvements of agriculture 
is much more durable, and cannot 
be destroyed but by those more violent convulsions 
occasioned by the depredations of 
hostile and barbarous nations continued for a 
century or two together; such as those that 
happened for some time before and after the 
fall of the Roman empire in the western provinces 
of Europe