at which exportation of corn is prohibited, if 
it is ever to be prohibited, ought always to be 
a very high price
The laws concerning corn may everywhere 
be compared to the laws concerning religion. 
The people feel themselves so much interested 
in what relates either to their subsistence in 
this life, or to their happiness in a life to come, 
that government must yield to their prejudices
and, in order to preserve the public 
tranquillity, establish that system which they 
approve of. It is upon this account, perhaps, 
that we so seldom find a reasonable system established 
with regard to either of those two capital 
IV. The trade of the merchant-carrier, or 
of the importer of foreign corn, in order to 
export it again, contributes to the plentiful 
supply of the home market. It is not, indeed, 
the direct purpose of his trade to sell his corn 
there; but he will generally be willing to do 
so, and even for a good deal less money than 
he might expect in a foreign market; because 
he saves in this manner the expense of loading 
and unloading, of freight and insurance
The inhabitants of the country which, by 
means of the carrying trade, becomes the magazine 
and storehouse for the supply of other 
countries, can very seldom be in want themselves. 
Though the carrying trade must thus 
contribute to reduce the average money price 
of corn in the home market, it would not 
thereby lower its real value; it would only 
raise somewhat the real value of silver
The carrying trade was in effect prohibited 
in Great Britain, upon all ordinary occasions
by the high duties upon the importation of foreign 
corn, of the greater part of which there 
was no drawback; and upon extraordinary 
occasions, when a scarcity made it necessary 
to suspend those duties by temporary statutes
exportation was always prohibited. By this 
system of laws, therefore, the carrying trade 
was in effect prohibited
That system of laws, therefore, which is 
connected with the establishment of the bounty
seems to deserve no part of the praise 
which has been bestowed upon it. The improvement 
and prosperity of Great Britain
which has been so often ascribed to those 
laws, may very easily be accounted for by 
other causes. That security which the laws 
in Great Britain give to every man, that he 
shall enjoy the fruits of his own labour, is 
alone sufficient to make any country flourish
notwithstanding these and twenty other absurd 
regulations of commerce; and this security 
was perfected by the Revolution, much 
about the same time that the bounty was established. 
The natural effort of every individual 
to better his own condition, when suffered 
to exert itself with freedom and security
is so powerful a principle, that it is alone, 
and without any assistance, not only capable 
of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity
but of surmounting a hundred impertinent 
obstructions, with which the folly of 
human laws too often encumbers its operations: 
though the effect of those obstructions 
is always, more or less, either to encroach 
upon its freedom, or to diminish its security
In Great Britain industry is perfectly secure; 
and though it is far from being perfectly free
it is as free or freer than in any other part of 
Though the period of the greatest prosperity 
and improvement of Great Britain has 
been posterior to that system of laws which is 
connected with the bounty, we must not upon 
that account, impute it to those laws. It 
has been posterior likewise to the national 
debt; but the national debt has most assuredly 
not been the cause of it. 
Though the system of laws which is connected 
with the bounty, has exactly the same 
tendency with the practice of Spain and Portugal
to lower somewhat the value of the 
precious metals in the country where it takes 
place; yet Great Britain is certainly one of 
the richest countries in Europe, while Spain 
and Portugal are perhaps amongst the most 
beggarly. This difference of situation, however, 
may easily be accounted for from two 
different causes. First, the tax in Spain, the 
prohibition in Portugal of exporting gold and 
silver, and the vigilant police which watches 
over the execution of those laws, must, in two 
very poor countries, which between them import 
annually upwards of six millions sterling, 
operate not only more directly, but 
much more forcibly, in reducing the value of 
those metals there, than the corn laws can do 
in Great Britain. And, secondly, this bad 
policy is not in these countries counterbalanced 
by the general liberty and security of 
the people. Industry is there neither free nor 
secure; and the civil and ecclesiastical governments 
of both Spain and Portugal are 
such as would alone be sufficient to perpetuate 
their present state of poverty, even 
though their regulations of commerce were 
as wise as the greatest part of them are absurd 
and foolish
The 13th of the present king, c. 43, seems 
to have established a new system with regard 
to the corn laws, in many respects better than 
the ancient one, but in one or two respects 
perhaps not quite so good
By this statute, the high duties upon importation 
for home consumption are taken off, 
so soon as the price of middling wheat rises 
to 48s. the quarter; that of middling rye
pease, or beans, to 32s.; that of barley to 
24s.; and that of oats to 16s.; and instead of 
them, a small duty is imposed of only 6d. 
upon the quarter of wheat, and upon that of 
other grain in proportion. With regard to 
all those different sorts of grain, but particularly