soldiers, I have frequently heard it observed, 
are at first debauched by the cheapness and 
novelty of good wine; but after a few months 
residence, the greater part of them become as 
sober as the rest of the inhabitants. Were 
the duties upon foreign wines, and the excises 
upon malt, beer, and ale, to be taken 
away all at once, it might, in the same manner
occasion in Great Britain a pretty general 
and temporary drunkenness among the 
middling and inferior ranks of people, which 
would probably be soon followed by a permanent 
and almost universal sobriety. At present, 
drunkenness is by no means the vice of 
people of fashion, or of those who can easily 
afford the most expensive liquors. A gentleman 
drunk with ale has scarce ever been seen 
among us. The restraints upon the wine trade 
in Great Britain, besides, do not so much 
seem calculated to hinder the people from going, 
if I may say so, to the alehouse, as from 
going where they can buy the best and cheapest 
liquor. They favour the wine trade of 
Portugal, and discourage that of France. The 
Portuguese, it is said, indeed, are better customers 
for our manufactures than the French
and should therefore be encouraged in preference 
to them. As they give us their custom, 
it is pretended we should give them ours. The 
sneaking arts of underling tradesman are thus 
erected into political maxims for the conduct 
of a great empire; for it is the most underling 
tradesmen only who make it a rule to 
employ chiefly their own customers. A great 
trader purchases his goods always where they 
are cheapest and best, without regard to any 
little interest of this kind. 
By such maxims as these, however, nations 
have been taught that their interest consisted 
in beggaring all their neighbours. Each nation 
has been made to look with an invidious 
eye upon the prosperity of all the nations with 
which it trades, and to consider their gain as 
its own loss. Commerce, which ought naturally 
to be, among nations as among individuals
a bond of union and friendship, has become 
the most fertile source of discord and 
animosity. The capricious ambition of kings 
and ministers has not, during the present and 
the preceding century, been more fatal to the 
repose of Europe, than the impertinent jealousy 
of merchants and manufacturers. The 
violence and injustice of the rulers of mankind 
is an ancient evil, for which, I am afraid
the nature of human affairs can scarce admit 
of a remedy: but the mean rapacity, the monopolizing 
spirit, of merchants and manufacturers
who neither are, nor ought to be, the 
rulers of mankind, though it cannot, perhaps, 
be corrected, may very easily be prevented 
from disturbing the tranquillity of anybody 
but themselves. 
That it was the spirit of monopoly which 
originally both invented and propagated this 
doctrine, cannot be doubted: and they who 
first taught it, were by no means such fools 
as they who believed it. In every country it 
always is, and must be, the interest of the 
great body of the people, to buy whatever they 
want of those who sell it cheapest. The proposition 
is so very manifest, that it seems ridiculous 
to take any pains to prove it; nor could 
it ever have been called in question, had not 
the interested sophistry of merchants and manufacturers 
confounded the common sense of 
mankind. Their interest is, in this respect, 
directly opposite to that of the great body of 
the people. As it is the interest of the freemen 
of a corporation to hinder the rest of the 
inhabitants from employing any workmen but 
themselves; so it is the interest of the merchants 
and manufacturers of every country to 
secure to themselves the monopoly of the 
home market. Hence, in Great Britain, and 
in most other European countries, the extraordinary 
duties upon almost all goods imported 
by alien merchants. Hence the high duties 
and prohibitions upon all those foreign 
manufactures which can come into competition 
with our own. Hence, too, the extraordinary 
restraints upon the importation of almost 
all sorts of goods from those countries 
with which the balance of trade is supposed 
to be disadvantageous; that is, from those 
against whom national animosity happens to 
be most violently inflamed
The wealth of neighbouring nations, however, 
though dangerous in war and politics, is 
certainly advantageous in trade. In a state 
of hostility, it may enable our enemies to 
maintain fleets and armies superior to our 
own; but in a state of peace and commerce
it must likewise enable them to exchange with 
us to a greater value, and to afford a better 
market, either for the immediate produce of 
our own industry, or for whatever is purchased 
with that produce. As a rich man is likely 
to be a better customer to the industrious people 
in his neighbourhood, than a poor, so is 
likewise a rich nation. A rich man, indeed, 
who is himself a manufacturer, is a very dangerous 
neighbour to all those who deal in the 
same way. All the rest of the neighbourhood
however, by far the greatest number, profit by 
the good market which his expense affords 
them. They even profit by his underselling 
the poorer workmen who deal in the same way 
with him. The manufacturers of a rich nation, 
in the same manner, may no doubt be 
very dangerous rivals to those of their neighbours
This very competition, however, is 
advantageous to the great body of the people, 
who profit greatly, besides, by the good market 
which the great expense of such a nation 
affords them in every other way. Private 
people, who want to make a fortune, never 
think of retiring to the remote and poor provinces 
of the country, but resort either to the 
capital, or to some of the great commercial 
towns. They know, that where little wealth