an exorbitant profit to himself. They endeavoured, 
therefore, to annihilate his trade altogether
They even endeavoured to hinder, as 
much as possible, any middle man of any 
kind from coming in between the grower and 
the consumer; and this was the meaning of 
the many restraints which they imposed upon 
the trade of those whom they called kidders
or carriers of corn; a trade which nobody was 
allowed to exercise without a licence, ascertaining 
his qualifications as a man of probity and 
fair dealing. The authority of three justices of 
the peace was, by the statute of Edward VI
necessary in order to grant this licence. But 
even this restraint was afterwards thought insufficient, 
and, by a statute of Elizabeth, the 
privilege of granting it was confined to the 
The ancient policy of Europe endeavoured
in this manner, to regulate agriculture, the 
great trade of the country, by maxims quite 
different from those which it established with 
regard to manufactures, the great trade of the 
towns. By leaving a farmer no other customers 
but either the consumers or their immediate 
factors, the kidders and carriers of corn
it endeavoured to force him to exercise the 
trade, not only of a farmer, but of a corn merchant
or corn retailer. On the contrary, it, 
in many cases, prohibited the manufacturer 
from exercising the trade of a shopkeeper, or 
from selling his own goods by retail. It 
meant, by the one law, to promote the general 
interest of the country, or to render corn 
cheap, without, perhaps, its being well understood 
how this was to be done. By the other, 
it meant to promote that of a particular order 
of men, the shopkeepers, who would be so 
much undersold by the manufacturer, it was 
supposed, that their trade would be ruined
if he was allowed to retail at all. 
The manufacturer, however, though he had 
been allowed to keep a shop, and to sell his 
own goods by retail, could not have undersold 
the common shopkeeper. Whatever part of 
his capital he might have placed in his shop
he must have withdrawn it from his manufacture
In order to carry on his business on a 
level with that of other people, as he must 
have had the profit of a manufacturer on the 
one part, so he must have had that of a shopkeeper 
upon the other. Let us suppose, for 
example, that in the particular town where he 
lived, ten per cent. was the ordinary profit 
both of manufacturing and shopkeeping stock
he must in this case have charged upon every 
piece of his own goods, which he sold in his 
shop, a profit of twenty per cent. When he 
carried them from his workhouse to his shop
he must have valued them at the price for 
which he could have sold them to a dealer or 
shopkeeper, who would have bought them by 
wholesale. If he valued them lower, he lost 
a part of the profit of his manufacturing capital
When, again, he sold them from his 
shop, unless he got the same price at which a 
shopkeeper would have sold them, he lost a 
part of the profit of his shopkeeping capital
Though he might appear, therefore, to make 
a double profit upon the same piece of goods
yet, as these goods made successively a part 
of two distinct capitals, he made but a single 
profit upon the whole capital employed about 
them; and if he made less than his profit, he 
was a loser, and did not employ his whole capital 
with the same advantage as the greater 
of part of his neighbours
What the manufacturer was prohibited to 
do, the farmer was in some measure enjoined 
to do; to divide his capital between two different 
employments; to keep one part of it 
in his granaries and stack-yard, for supplying 
the occasional demands of the market, and to 
employ the other in the cultivation of his 
land. But as he could not afford to employ 
the latter for less than the ordinary profits of 
farming stock, so he could as little afford to 
employ the former for less than the ordinary 
profits of mercantile stock. Whether the stock 
which really carried on the business of a corn 
merchant belonged to the person who was 
called a farmer, or to the person who was called 
a corn merchant, an equal profit was in 
both cases requisite, in order to indemnify its 
owner for employing it in this manner, in 
order to put his business on a level with other 
trades, and in order to hinder him from having 
an interest to change it as soon as possible 
for some other. The farmer, therefore, 
who was thus forced to exercise the trade of 
a corn merchant, could not afford to sell his 
corn cheaper than any other corn merchant 
would have been obliged to do in the case 
a free competition
The dealer who can employ his whole stock 
in one single branch of business, has an advantage 
of the same kind with the workman 
who can employ his whole labour in one single 
operation. As the latter acquires a dexterity 
which enables him, with the same two hands
to perform a much greater quantity of work
so the former acquires so easy and ready
method of transacting his business, of buying 
and disposing of his goods, that, with the same 
capital he can transact a much greater quantity 
of business. As the one can commonly 
afford his work a good deal cheaper, so the 
other can commonly afford his goods somewhat 
cheaper, than if his stock and attention 
were both employed about a greater variety of 
objects. The greater part of manufacturers 
could not afford to retail their own goods so 
cheap as a vigilant and active shopkeeper
whose sole business it was to buy them by 
wholesale and to retail them again. The 
greater part of farmers could still less afford 
to retail their own corn, to supply the inhabitants 
of a town, at perhaps four or five miles 
distance from the greater part of them, so 
cheap as a vigilant and active corn merchant