consumed in it, the supply of the home market 
can never be very plentiful. But unless 
the surplus can, in all ordinary cases, be exported
the growers will be careful never to 
grow more, and the importers never to import 
more, than what the bare consumption 
of the home market requires. That market 
will very seldom be overstocked; but it will 
generally be understocked; the people, whose 
business it is to supply it, being generally 
afraid lest their goods should be left upon 
their hands. The prohibition of exportation 
limits the improvement and cultivation of the 
country to what the supply of its own inhabitants 
require. The freedom of exportation 
enables it to extend cultivation for the supply 
of foreign nations. 
By the 12th of Charles II. c. 4, the exportation 
of corn was permitted whenever the price 
of wheat did not exceed 40s. the quarter, and 
that of other grain in proportion. By the 
15th of the same prince, this liberty was extended 
till the price of wheat exceeded 48s. 
the quarter, and by the 22d, to all higher 
prices. A poundage, indeed, was to be paid 
to the king upon such exportation; but all 
grain was rated so low in the book of rates
that this poundage amounted only, upon 
wheat to 1s. upon oats to 4d. and upon all other 
grain to 6d. the quarter. By the 1st of William 
and Mary, the act which established this 
bounty, this small duty was virtually taken off 
whenever the price of wheat did not exceed 
48s. the quarter; and by the 11th and 12th 
of William III. c. 20, it was expressly taken 
off at all higher prices
The trade of the merchant-exporter was, in 
this manner, not only encouraged by a bounty
but rendered much more free than that of 
the inland dealer. By the last of these statutes
corn could be engrossed at any price for 
exportation; but it could not be engrossed for 
inland sale, except when the price did not 
exceed 48s. the quarter. The interest of the 
inland dealer, however, it has already been 
shown, can never be opposite to that of the 
great body of the people. That of the merchant-exporter 
may, and in fact sometimes is. 
If, while his own country labours under a 
dearth, a neighbouring country should be afflicted 
with a famine, it might be his interest 
to carry corn to the latter country, in such 
quantities as might very much aggravate the 
calamities of the dearth. The plentiful supply 
of the home market was not the direct object 
of those statutes; but, under the pretence of 
encouraging agriculture, to raise the money 
price of corn as high as possible, and thereby 
to occasion, as much as possible, a constant 
dearth in the home market. By the discouragement 
of importation, the supply of that 
market, even in times of great scarcity, was 
confined to the home growth; and by the encouragement 
of exportation, when the price 
was so high as 48s. the quarter, that market 
was not, even in times of considerable scarcity
allowed to enjoy the whole of that growth
The temporary laws, prohibiting, for a limited 
time, the exportation of corn, and taking off, 
for a limited time, the duties upon its importation
expedients to which Great Britain has 
been obliged so frequently to have recourse, 
sufficiently demonstrate the impropriety of 
her general system. Had that system been 
good, she would not so frequently have been 
reduced to the necessity of departing from it. 
Were all nations to follow the liberal system 
of free exportation and free importation
the different states into which a great continent 
was divided, would so far resemble the 
different provinces of a great empire. As 
among the different provinces of a great empire
the freedom of the inland trade appears
both from reason and experience, not only the 
best palliative of a dearth, but the most effectual 
preventive of a famine; so would the 
freedom of the exportation and importation 
trade be among the different states into which 
a great continent was divided. The larger 
the continent, the easier the communication 
through all the different parts of it, both by 
land and by water, the less would any one particular 
part of it ever he exposed to either of 
these calamities, the scarcity of any one country 
being more likely to be relieved by the 
plenty of some other. But very few countries 
have entirely adopted this liberal system. The 
freedom of the corn trade is almost everywhere 
more or less restrained, and in many 
countries is confined by such absurd regulations
as frequently aggravate the unavoidable 
misfortune of a dearth into the dreadful calamity 
of a famine. The demand of such 
countries for corn may frequently become so 
great and so urgent, that a small state in their 
neighbourhood, which happened at the same 
time to be labouring under some degree of 
dearth, could not venture to supply them without 
exposing itself to the like dreadful calamity. 
The very bad policy of one country 
may thus render it, in some measure, dangerous 
and imprudent to establish what would 
otherwise be the best policy in another. The 
unlimited freedom of exportation, however, 
would be much less dangerous in great states
in which the growth being much greater, the 
supply could seldom be much affected by any 
quantity of corn that was likely to be exported
In a Swiss canton, or in some of the little states 
in Italy, it may, perhaps, sometimes be necessary 
to restrain the exportation of corn. In 
such great countries as France or England, it 
scarce ever can. To hinder, besides, the farmer 
from sending his goods at all times to 
the best market, is evidently to sacrifice the 
ordinary laws of justice to an idea of public 
utility, to a sort of reasons of state; an act of 
legislative authority which ought to be exercised 
only, which can be pardoned only, in 
cases of the most urgent necessity. The price