without any exportation, but merely by their 
own waste and extravagance, be in great want 
of them the next. Money, on the contrary, is 
a steady friend, which, though it may travel 
about from hand to hand, yet if it can be kept 
from going out of the country, is not very liable 
to be wasted and consumed. Gold and 
silver, therefore, are, according to him, the 
most solid and substantial part of the moveable 
wealth of a nation; and to multiply those 
metals ought, he thinks, upon that account
to be the great object of its political economy
Others admit, that if a nation could be separated 
from all the world, it would be of no 
consequence how much or how little money 
circulated in it. The consumable goods
which were circulated by means of this money
would only be exchanged for a greater or a 
smaller number of pieces; but the real wealth 
or poverty of the country, they allow, would 
depend altogether upon the abundance or scarcity 
of those consumable goods. But it is 
otherwise, they think, with countries which 
have connections with foreign nations, and 
which are obliged to carry on foreign wars, 
and to maintain fleets and armies in distant 
countries. This, they say, cannot be done, 
but by sending abroad money to pay them 
with; and a nation cannot send much money 
abroad, unless it has a good deal at home
Every such nation, therefore, must endeavour
in time of peace, to accumulate gold and silver
that when occasion requires, it may have 
wherewithal to carry on foreign wars
In consequence of these popular notions, all 
the different nations of Europe have studied
though to little purpose, every possible means 
of accumulating gold and silver in their respective 
countries. Spain and Portugal, the 
proprietors of the principal mines which supply 
Europe with those metals, have either prohibited 
their exportation under the severest 
penalties, or subjected it to a considerable duty. 
The like prohibition seems anciently to 
have made a part of the policy of most other 
European nations. It is even to be found
where we should least of all expect to find it, 
in some old Scotch acts of Parliament, which 
forbid, under heavy penalties, the carrying 
gold or silver forth of the kingdom. The like 
policy anciently took place both in France and 
When those countries became commercial
the merchants found this prohibition, upon 
many occasions, extremely inconvenient. They 
could frequently buy more advantageously 
with gold and silver, than with any other commodity
the foreign goods which they wanted
either to import into their own, or to carry to 
some other foreign country. They remonstrated
therefore, against this prohibition as 
hurtful to trade
They represented, first, that the exportation 
of gold and silver, in order to purchase foreign 
goods, did not always diminish the 
quantity of those metals in the kingdom; that, 
on the contrary, it might frequently increase 
the quantity; because, if the consumption of 
foreign goods was not thereby increased in the 
country, those goods might be re-exported to 
foreign countries, and being there sold for a 
large profit, might bring back much more treasure 
than was originally sent out to purchase 
them. Mr Mun compares this operation of 
foreign trade to the seed-time and harvest of 
agriculture. 'If we only behold,' says he, 
'the actions of the husbandman in the seed-time, 
when he casteth away much good corn 
into the ground, we shall account him rather 
a madman than a husbandman. But when we 
consider his labours in the harvest, which is 
the end of his endeavours, we shall find the 
worth and plentiful increase of his actions.' 
They represented, secondly, that this prohibition 
could not hinder the exportation of gold 
and silver, which, on account of the smallness 
of their bulk in proportion to their value, 
could easily be smuggled abroad. That this 
exportation could only be prevented by a proper 
attention to what they called the balance 
of trade. That when the country exported to 
a greater value than it imported, a balance became 
due to it from foreign nations, which 
was necessarily paid to it in gold and silver
and thereby increased the quantity of those 
metals in the kingdom. But that when it imported 
to a greater value than it exported, a 
contrary balance became due to foreign nations
which was necessarily paid to them in 
the same manner, and thereby diminished that 
quantity: that in this case, to prohibit the exportation 
of those metals, could not prevent it, 
but only, by making it more dangerous, render 
it more expensive: that the exchange was 
thereby turned more against the country which 
owed the balance, than it otherwise might 
have been; the merchant who purchased
bill upon the foreign country being obliged to 
pay the banker who sold it, not only for the 
natural risk, trouble, and expense of sending 
the money thither, but for the extraordinary 
risk arising from the prohibition; but that the 
more the exchange was against any country
the more the balance of trade became necessarily 
against it; the money of that country 
becoming necessarily of so much less value, in 
comparison with that of the country to which 
the balance was due. That if the exchange 
between England and Holland, for example, 
was five per cent. against England, it would 
require 105 ounces of silver in England to 
purchase a bill for 100 ounces of silver in 
Holland: that 105 ounces of silver in England
therefore, would be worth only 100 
ounces of silver in Holland, and would purchase 
only a proportionable quantity of Dutch 
goods; but that 100 ounces of silver in Holland
on the contrary, would be worth 105 
ounces in England, and would purchase
proportionable quantity of English goods