goods of some kind or other. But 
if those consumable goods were purchased directly 
with the produce of English industry
it would be more for the advantage of England, 
than first to purchase with that produce 
the gold of Portugal, and afterwards to purchase 
with that gold those consumable goods
A direct foreign trade of consumption is always 
more advantageous than a round-about 
one; and to bring the same value of foreign 
goods to the home market, requires a much 
smaller capital in the one way than in the 
other. If a smaller share of its industry
therefore, had been employed in producing 
goods fit for the Portugal market, and a 
greater in producing those fit for the other 
markets, where those consumable goods for 
which there is a demand in Great Britain are 
to be had, it would have been more for the 
advantage of England. To procure both the 
gold which it wants for its own use, and the 
consumable goods, would, in this way, employ 
a much smaller capital than at present. 
There would be a spare capital, therefore, to 
be employed for other purposes, in exciting 
an additional quantity of industry, and in 
raising a greater annual produce
Though Britain were entirely excluded from 
the Portugal trade, it could find very little 
difficulty in procuring all the annual supplies 
of gold which it wants, either for the purposes 
of plate, or of coin, or of foreign trade. Gold, 
like every other commodity, is always somewhere 
or another to be got for its value by 
those who have that value to give for it. The 
annual surplus of gold in Portugal, besides, 
would still be sent abroad, and though not 
carried away by Great Britain, would be carried 
away by some other nation, which would 
be glad to sell it again for its price, in the 
same manner as Great Britain does at present. 
In buying gold of Portugal, indeed, we buy 
it at the first hand; whereas, in buying it of 
any other nation, except Spain, we should buy 
it at the second, and might pay somewhat 
dearer. This difference, however, would surely 
be too insignificant to deserve the public attention. 
Almost all our gold, it is said, comes from 
Portugal. With other nations, the balance of 
trade is either against us, or not much in our 
favour. But we should remember, that the 
more gold we import from one country, the 
less we must necessarily import from all others. 
The effectual demand for gold, like that for 
every other commodity, is in every country limited 
to a certain quantity. If nine-tenths 
of this quantity are imported from one country
there remains a tenth only to be imported 
from all others. The more gold, besides, that 
is annually imported from some particular 
countries, over and above what is requisite 
for plate and for coin, the more must necessarily 
be exported to some others: and the 
more that most insignificant object of modern 
policy, the balance of trade, appears to be in 
our favour with some particular countries, the 
more it must necessarily appear to be against 
us with many others. 
It was upon this silly notion, however, that 
England could not subsist without the Portugal 
trade, that, towards the end of the late 
war, France and Spain, without pretending 
either offence or provocation, required the 
king of Portugal to exclude all British ships 
from his ports, and, for the security of this 
exclusion, to receive into them French or Spanish 
garrisons. Had the king of Portugal 
submitted to those ignominious terms which 
his brother-in-law the king of Spain proposed 
to him, Britain would have been freed from 
a much greater inconveniency than the loss of 
the Portugal trade, the burden of supporting 
a very weak ally, so unprovided of every thing 
for his own defence, that the whole power of 
England, had it been directed to that single 
purpose, could scarce, perhaps, have defended 
him for another campaign. The loss of the 
Portugal trade would, no doubt, have occasioned 
a considerable embarrassment to the 
merchants at that time engaged in it, who 
might not, perhaps, have found out, for a year 
or two, any other equally advantageous method 
of employing their capitals; and in this 
would probably have consisted all the inconveniency 
which England could have suffered 
from this notable piece of commercial policy
The great annual importation of gold and 
silver is neither for the purpose of plate nor of 
coin, but of foreign trade. A round-about 
foreign trade of consumption can be carried 
on more advantageously by means of these 
metals than of almost any other goods. As 
they are the universal instruments of commerce
they are more readily received in return 
for all commodities than any other goods; and, 
on account of their small bulk and great value, 
it costs less to transport them backward 
and forward from one place to another than 
almost any other sort of merchandize, and they 
lose less of their value by being so transported
Of all the commodities, therefore, which are 
bought in one foreign country, for no other 
purpose but to be sold or exchanged again for 
some other goods in another, there are none 
so convenient as gold and silver. In facilitating 
all the different round-about foreign 
trades of consumption which are carried on in 
Great Britain, consists the principal advantage 
of the Portugal trade; and though it is 
not a capital advantage, it is, no doubt, a considerable 
That any annual addition which, it can reasonably 
be supposed, is made either to the 
plate or to the coin of the kingdom, could require 
but a very small annual importation of 
gold and silver, seems evident enough; and