has wherewithal to buy gold and silver, will 
never be in want of those metals. They are 
to be bought for a certain price, like all 
commodities; and as they are the price of all 
other commodities, so all other commodities 
are the price of those metals. We trust, with 
perfect security, that the freedom of trade, 
without any attention of government, will always 
supply us with the wine which we have 
occasion for; and we may trust, with equal 
security, that it will always supply us with all 
the gold and silver which we can afford to purchase 
or to employ, either in circulating our 
commodities or in other uses. 
The quantity of every commodity which human 
industry can either purchase or produce
naturally regulates itself in every country according 
to the effectual demand, or according 
to the demand of those who are willing to pay 
the whole rent, labour, and profits, which 
must be paid in order to prepare and bring it 
to market. But no commodities regulate 
themselves more easily or more exactly, according 
to this effectual demand, than gold 
and silver; because, on account of the small 
bulk and great value of those metals, no commodities 
can be more easily transported from 
one place to another; from the places where they 
are cheap, to those where they are dear; from 
the places where they exceed, to those where 
they fall short of this effectual demand. If there 
were in England, for example, an effectual 
demand for an additional quantity of gold, a 
packet-boat could bring from Lisbon, or from 
wherever else it was to be had, fifty tons of 
gold, which could be coined into more than 
five millions of guineas. But if there were 
an effectual demand for grain to the same value, 
to import it would require, at five guineas 
a-ton, a million of tons of shipping, or a thousand 
ships of a thousand tons each. The navy 
of England would not be sufficient
When the quantity of gold and silver imported 
into any country exceeds the effectual 
demand, no vigilance of government can prevent 
their exportation. All the sanguinary 
laws of Spain and Portugal are not able to 
keep their gold and silver at home. The continual 
importations from Peru and Brazil exceed 
the effectual demand of those countries
and sink the price of those metals there below 
that in the neighbouring countries. If, 
on the contrary, in any particular country
their quantity fell short of the effectual demand
so as to raise their price above that of 
the neighbouring countries, the government 
would have no occasion to take any pains to 
import them. If it were even to take pains 
to prevent their importation, it would not be 
able to effectuate it. Those metals, when the 
Spartans had got wherewithal to purchase 
them, broke through all the barriers which 
the laws of Lycurgus opposed to their entrance 
into Lacedæmon. All the sanguinary 
laws of the customs are not able to prevent 
the importation of the teas of the Dutch and 
Gottenburg East India companies; because 
somewhat cheaper than those of the British 
company. A pound of tea, however, is about 
a hundred times the bulk of one of the highest 
prices, sixteen shillings, that is commonly 
paid for it in silver, and more than two thousand 
times the bulk of the same price in gold
and, consequently, just so many times more 
difficult to smuggle. 
It is partly owing to the easy transportation 
of gold and silver, from the places where 
they abound to those where they are wanted, 
that the price of those metals does not fluctuate 
continually, like that of the greater part 
of other commodities, which are hindered by 
their bulk from shifting their situation, when 
the market happens to be either over or understocked 
with them. The price of those metals
indeed, is not altogether exempted from 
variation; but the changes to which it is liable 
are generally slow, gradual, and uniform. In 
Europe, for example, it is supposed, without 
much foundation, perhaps, that during the 
course of the present and preceding century
they have been constantly, but gradually, sinking 
in their value, on account of the continual 
importations from the Spanish West Indies
But to make any sudden change in the price 
of gold and silver, so as to raise or lower at 
once, sensibly and remarkably, the money 
price of all other commodities, requires such 
a revolution in commerce as that occasioned 
by the discovery of America
If, notwithstanding all this, gold and silver 
should at any time fall short in a country 
which has wherewithal to purchase them, there 
are more expedients for supplying their place
than that of almost any other commodity. If 
the materials of manufacture are wanted, industry 
must stop. If provisions are wanted
the people must starve. But if money is 
wanted, barter will supply its place, though 
with a good deal of inconveniency. Buying and 
selling upon credit, and the different dealers 
compensating their credits with one another, 
once a-month, or once a-year, will supply it 
with less inconveniency. A well-regulated 
paper-money will supply it not only without 
any inconveniency, but, in some cases, with 
some advantage. Upon every account, therefore, 
the attention of government never was 
so unnecessarily employed, as when directed 
to watch over the preservation or increase of 
the quantity of money in any country. 
No complaint, however, is more common 
than that of a scarcity of money. Money, like 
wine, must always be scarce with those who 
have neither wherewithal to buy it, nor credit 
to borrow it. Those who have either, will 
seldom be in want either of the money, or of 
the wine which they have occasion for. This 
complaint, however, of the scarcity of money
is not always confined to improvident spendthrifts
It is sometimes general through a