the colonies; to the market in which they 
have the monopoly, rather than to that in 
which they have many competitors. The 
causes of decay in other branches of foreign 
trade, which, by Sir Matthew Decker and 
other writers, have been sought for in the 
excess and improper made of taxation, in the 
high price of labour, in the increase of 
luxury, &c. may all be found in the overgrowth 
of the colony trade. The mercantile 
capital of Great Britain, though very 
great, yet not being infinite, and though 
greatly increased since the act of navigation
yet not being increased in the same proportion 
as the colony trade, that trade could not 
possibly be carried on without withdrawing 
some part of that capital from other branches 
of trade, nor consequently without some decay 
of those other branches
England, it must be observed, was a great 
trading country, her mercantile capital was 
very great, and likely to become still greater 
and greater every day, not only before the act 
of navigation had established the monopoly of 
the corn trade, but before that trade was very 
considerable. In the Dutch war, during the 
government of Cromwell, her navy was superior 
to that of Holland; and in that which 
broke out in the beginning of the reign of 
Charles II., it was at least equal, perhaps 
superior to the united navies of France and 
Holland. Its superiority, perhaps, would 
scarce appear greater in the present times, at 
least if the Dutch navy were to bear the 
same proportion to the Dutch commerce now 
which it did then. But this great naval 
power could not, in either of those wars, be 
owing to the act of navigation. During the 
first of them, the plan of that act had been 
but just formed; and though, before the 
breaking out of the second, it had been fully 
enacted by legal authority, yet no part of it 
could have had time to produce any considerable 
effect, and least of all that part which 
established the exclusive trade to the colonies
Both the colonies and their trade were inconsiderable 
then, in comparison of what they 
are now. The island of Jamaica was an 
unwholesome desert, little inhabited, and less 
cultivated. New York and New Jersey were 
in the possession of the Dutch, the half of 
St. Christopher's in that of the French
The island of Antigua, the two Carolinas
Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nova Scotia
were not planted. Virginia, Maryland, and 
New England were planted; and though 
they were very thriving colonies, yet there 
was not perhaps at that time, either in Europe 
or America, a single person who foresaw
or even suspected, the rapid progress which 
they have since made in wealth, population
and improvement. The island of Barbadoes
in short, was the only British colony of any 
consequence, of which the condition at that 
time bore any resemblance to what it is at 
present. The trade of the colonies, of which 
England, even for some time after the act of 
navigation, enjoyed but a part (for the act 
of navigation was not very strictly executed 
till several years after it was enacted), could 
not at that time be the cause of the great 
trade of England, nor of the great naval 
power which was supported by that trade
The trade which at that time supported that 
great naval power was the trade of Europe
and of the countries which lie round the Mediterranean 
sea. But the share which Great 
Britain at present enjoys of that trade could 
not support any such great naval power. 
Had the growing trade of the colonies been 
left free to all nations, whatever share of it 
might have fallen to Great Britain, and a 
very considerable share would probably have 
fallen to her, must have been all an addition 
to this great trade of which she was before in 
possession. In consequence of the monopoly
the increase of the colony trade has not so 
much occasioned an addition to the trade 
which Great Britain had before, as a total 
change in its direction
Secondly, This monopoly has necessarily 
contributed to keep up the rate of profit, in 
all the different branches of British trade
higher than it naturally would have been, had 
all nations been allowed a free trade to the 
British colonies
The monopoly of the colony trade, as it necessarily 
drew towards that trade a greater 
proportion of the capital of Great Britain than 
what would have gone to it of its own accord, 
so, by the expulsion of all foreign capitals, it 
necessarily reduced the whole quantity of 
capital employed in that trade below what it 
naturally would have been in the case of a 
free trade. But, by lessening the competition 
of capitals in that branch of trade, it necessarily 
raised the rate of profit in that 
branch. By lessening, too, the competition 
of British capitals in all other branches of 
trade, it necessarily raised the rate of British 
profit in all those other branches. Whatever 
may have been, at any particular period since 
the establishment of the act of navigation, the 
state or extent of the mercantile capital of 
Great Britain, the monopoly of the colony 
trade must, during the continuance of that 
state, have raised the ordinary rate of British 
profit higher than it otherwise would have 
been, both in that and in all the other branches 
of British trade. If, since the establishment 
of the act of navigation, the ordinary rate of 
British profit has fallen considerably, as it 
certainly has, it must have fallen still lower
had not the monopoly established by that act 
contributed to keep it up. 
But whatever raises, in any country, the 
ordinary rate of profit higher than it otherwise 
would be, necessarily subjects that country