the establishment of the bounty may, perhaps 
with reason, be ascribed in some measure 
to the operation of this statute of Charles II
which had been enacted about five-and-twenty 
years before, and which had, therefore, full 
time to produce its effect
A very few words will sufficiently explain 
all that I have to say concerning the other 
three branches of the corn trade
II. The trade of the merchant-importer of 
foreign corn for home consumption, evidently 
contributes to the immediate supply of the 
home market, and must so far be immediately 
beneficial to the great body of the people. It 
tends, indeed, to lower somewhat the average 
money price of corn, but not to diminish its 
real value, or the quantity of labour which it 
is capable of maintaining. If importation was 
at all times free, our farmers and country gentlemen 
would probably, one year with another, 
get less money for their corn than they do at 
present, when importation is at most times in 
effect prohibited; but the money which they 
got would be of more value, would buy more 
goods of all other kinds, and would employ 
more labour. Their real wealth, their real revenue
therefore, would be the same as at present
though it might be expressed by a smaller 
quantity of silver, and they would neither be 
disabled nor discouraged from cultivating corn 
as much as they do at present. On the contrary, 
as the rise in the real value of silver, in consequence 
of lowering the money price of corn
lowers somewhat the money price of all other 
commodities, it gives the industry of the country 
where it takes place some advantage in all 
foreign markets, and thereby tends to encourage 
and increase that industry. But the extent 
of the home market for corn must be in 
proportion to the general industry of the country 
where it grows, or to the number of those 
who produce something else, and, therefore, 
have something else, or, what comes to the 
same thing, the price of something else, to 
give in exchange for corn. But in every country
the home market, as it is the nearest and 
most convenient, so is it likewise the greatest 
and most important market for corn. That 
rise in the real value of silver, therefore, which 
is the effect of lowering the average money 
price of corn, tends to enlarge the greatest and 
most important market for corn, and thereby 
to encourage, instead of discouraging its 
By the 22nd of Charles II. c. 13, the importation 
of wheat, whenever the price in the 
home market did not exceed 53s. 4d. the 
quarter, was subjected to a duty of 16s. the 
quarter; and to a duty of 8s. whenever the 
price did not exceed L.4. The former of these 
two prices has, for more than a century past
taken place only in times of very great scarcity
and the latter has, so far as I know, not 
taken place at all. Yet, till wheat had risen 
above this latter price, it was, by this statute
subjected to a very high duty; and, till it 
had risen above the former, to a duty which 
amounted to a prohibition. The importation 
of other sorts of grain was restrained at rates 
and by duties, in proportion to the value of 
the grain, almost equally high.[40] Subsequent 
laws still further increased those duties
The distress which, in years of scarcity, the 
strict execution of those laws might have 
brought upon the people, would probably 
have been very great; but, upon such occasions, 
its execution was generally suspended 
by temporary statutes, which permitted, for a 
limited time, the importation of foreign corn
The necessity of these temporary statutes sufficiently 
demonstrates the impropriety of this 
general one. 
These restraints upon importation, though 
prior to the establishment of the bounty, were 
dictated by the same spirit, by the same principles
which afterwards enacted that regulation
How hurtful soever in themselves, these, 
or some other restraints upon importation, became 
necessary in consequence of that regulation
If, when wheat was either below 48s. 
the quarter, or not much above it, foreign 
corn could have been imported, either duty 
free, or upon paying only a small duty, it 
might have been exported again, with the benefit 
of the bounty, to the great loss of the 
public revenue, and to the entire perversion 
of the institution, of which the object was to 
extend the market for the home growth, not 
that for the growth of foreign countries. 
III. The trade of the merchant-exporter of 
corn for foreign consumption, certainly does 
not contribute directly to the plentiful supply 
of the home market. It does so, however, indirectly. 
From whatever source this supply 
may be usually drawn, whether from home 
growth, or from foreign importation, unless 
more corn is either usually grown, or usually 
imported into the country, than what is usually