Political economy, considered as a branch 
of the science of a statesman or legislator, proposes 
two distinct objects; first, to provide a 
plentiful revenue or subsistence for the people
or, more properly, to enable them to provide 
such a revenue or subsistence for themselves; 
and secondly, to supply the state or 
commonwealth with a revenue sufficient for 
the public services. It proposes to enrich 
both the people and the sovereign. 
The different progress of opulence in different 
ages and nations, has given occasion to 
two different systems of political economy
with regard to enriching the people. The one 
may be called the system of commerce, the 
other that of agriculture. I shall endeavour 
to explain both as fully and distinctly as I can, 
and shall begin with the system of commerce
It is the modern system, and is best understood 
in our own country and in our own 
That wealth consists in money, or in gold 
and silver, is a popular notion which naturally 
arises from the double function of money, as 
the instrument of commerce, and as the measure 
of value. In consequence of its being 
the instrument of commerce, when we have 
money we can more readily obtain whatever 
else we have occasion for, than by means of 
any other commodity. The great affair, we 
always find, is to get money. When that is 
obtained, there is no difficulty in making any 
subsequent purchase. In consequence of its 
being the measure of value, we estimate that 
of all other commodities by the quantity of 
money which they will exchange for. We 
say of a rich man, that he is worth a great 
deal, and of a poor man, that he is worth very 
little money. A frugal man, or a man eager 
to be rich, is said to love money; and a careless, 
a generous, or a profuse man, is said to 
be indifferent about it. To grow rich is to 
get money; and wealth and money, in short
are, in common language, considered as in 
every respect synonymous. 
A rich country, in the same manner as a 
rich man, is supposed to be a country abounding 
in money; and to heap up gold and silver 
in any country is supposed to be the readiest 
way to enrich it. For some time after the 
discovery of America, the first inquiry of the 
Spaniards, when they arrived upon any unknown 
coast, used to be, if there was any gold 
or silver to be found in the neighbourhood
By the information which they received, they 
judged whether it was worth while to make a 
settlement there, or if the country was worth 
the conquering. Plano Carpino, a monk sent 
ambassador from the king of France to one of 
the sons of the famous Gengis Khan, says, 
that the Tartars used frequently to ask him, if 
there was plenty of sheep and oxen in the 
kingdom of France? Their inquiry had the 
same object with that of the Spaniards. They 
wanted to know if the country was rich enough 
to be worth the conquering. Among the Tartars
as among all other nations of shepherds
who are generally ignorant of the use of money
cattle are the instruments of commerce 
and the measures of value. Wealth, therefore, 
according to them, consisted in cattle, as, 
according to the Spaniards, it consisted in gold 
and silver. Of the two, the Tartar notion
perhaps, was the nearest to the truth. 
Mr Locke remarks a distinction between 
money and other moveable goods. All other 
moveable goods, he says, are of so consumable 
a nature, that the wealth which consists in 
them cannot be much depended on; and a 
nation which abounds in them one year may,