Even the free importation of foreign corn 
could very little affect the interest of the 
farmers of Great Britain. Corn is a much 
more bulky commodity than butcher's meat
A pound of wheat at a penny is as dear as a 
pound of butcher's meat at fourpence. The 
small quantity of foreign corn imported even 
in times of the greatest scarcity, may satisfy 
our farmers that they can have nothing to fear 
from the freest importation. The average 
quantity imported, one year with another, amounts 
only, according to the very well informed 
author of the Tracts upon the Corn 
Trade, to 23,728 quarters of all sorts of grain
and does not exceed the five hundredth and 
seventy-one part of the annual consumption
But as the bounty upon corn occasions a greater 
exportation in years of plenty, so it must, 
of consequence, occasion a greater importation 
in years of scarcity, than in the actual state of 
tillage would otherwise take place. By means 
of it, the plenty of one year does not compensate 
the scarcity of another; and as the average 
quantity exported is necessarily augmented 
by it, so must likewise, in the actual state 
of tillage, the average quantity imported. If 
there were no bounty, as less corn would be 
exported, so it is probable that, one year with 
another, less would be imported than at present. 
The corn-merchants, the fetchers and 
carriers of corn between Great Britain and foreign 
countries, would have much less employment
and might suffer considerably; but 
the country gentlemen and farmers could suffer 
very little. It is in the corn-merchants
accordingly, rather than the country gentlemen 
and farmers, that I have observed the 
greatest anxiety for the renewal and continuation 
of the bounty
Country gentlemen and farmers are, to their 
great honour, of all people, the least subject 
to the wretched spirit of monopoly. The undertaker 
of a great manufactory is sometimes 
alarmed if another work of the same kind is 
established within twenty miles of him; the 
Dutch undertaker of the woollen manufacture 
at Abbeville, stipulated that no work of the 
same kind should be established within thirty 
leagues of that city. Farmers and country 
gentlemen, on the contrary, are generally disposed 
rather to promote, than to obstruct, the 
cultivation and improvement of their neighbours 
farms and estates. They have no secrets
such as those of the greater part of manufacturers
but are generally rather fond of 
communicating to their neighbours, and of 
extending as far as possible any new practice 
which they may have found to be advantageous
Pius quæstus, says old Cato, stabilissimusque
minimeque invidiosus; minimeque 
male cogitantes sunt, qui in eo studio occupati 
sunt. Country gentlemen and farmers, dispersed 
in different parts of the country, cannot 
so easily combine as merchants and manufacturers
who being collected into towns, and 
accustomed to that exclusive corporation spirit 
which prevails in them, naturally endeavour 
to obtain, against all their countrymen, the 
same exclusive privilege which they generally 
possess against the inhabitants of their respective 
towns. They accordingly seem to have 
been the original inventors of those restraints 
upon the importation of foreign goods, which 
secure to them the monopoly of the home 
market. It was probably in imitation of them, 
and to put themselves upon a level with those 
who, they found, were disposed to oppress 
them, that the country gentlemen and farmers 
of Great Britain so far forgot the generosity 
which is natural to their station, as to demand 
the exclusive privilege of supplying their 
countrymen with corn and butcher's meat
They did not, perhaps, take time to consider 
how much less their interest could be affected 
by the freedom of trade, than that of the people 
whose example they followed. 
To prohibit, by a perpetual law, the importation 
of foreign corn and cattle, is in reality 
to enact, that the population and industry of 
the country shall, at no time, exceed what the 
rude produce of its own soil can maintain
There seem, however, to be two cases, in 
which it will generally be advantageous to lay 
some burden upon foreign, for the encouragement 
of domestic industry
The first is, when some particular sort of 
industry is necessary for the defence of the 
country. The defence of Great Britain, for 
example, depends very much upon the number 
of its sailors and shipping. The act of 
navigation, therefore, very properly endeavours 
to give the sailors and shipping of Great 
Britain the monopoly of the trade of their 
own country, in some cases, by absolute prohibitions
and in others, by heavy burdens upon 
the shipping of foreign countries. The 
following are the principal dispositions of this 
First, All ships, of which the owners, masters, 
and three-fourths of the mariners, are not 
British subjects, are prohibited, upon pain of 
forfeiting ship and cargo, from trading to the 
British settlements and plantations, or from 
being employed in the coasting trade of Great 
Secondly, A great variety of the most bulky 
articles of importation can be brought into 
Great Britain only, either in such ships as are 
above described, or in ships of the country 
where those goods are produced, and of which 
the owners, masters, and three-fourths of the 
mariners, are of that particular country; and 
when imported even in ships of this latter 
kind, they are subject to double aliens duty. 
If imported in ships of any other country, the 
penalty is forfeiture of ship and goods. When 
this act was made, the Dutch were, what they 
still are, the great carriers of Europe; and 
by this regulation they were entirely excluded 
from being the carriers to Great Britain, or