sum of profit from rising so high as it otherwise 
would do. 
All the original sources of revenue, the 
wages of labour, the rent of land, and the 
profits of stock, the monopoly renders much 
less abundant than they otherwise would be. 
To promote the little interest of one little 
order of men in one country, it hurts the interest 
of all other orders of men in that country, 
and of all the men in all other countries
It is solely by raising the ordinary rate of 
profit, that the monopoly either has proved, 
or could prove, advantageous to any one particular 
order of men. But besides all the 
bad effects to the country in general, which 
have already been mentioned as necessarily 
resulting from a higher rate of profit, there is 
one more fatal, perhaps, than all these put 
together, but which, if we may judge from 
experience, is inseparably connected with it. 
The high rate of profit seems everywhere to 
destroy that parsimony which, in other circumstances
is natural to the character of the 
merchant. When profits are high, that sober 
virtue seems to be superfluous, and expensive 
luxury to suit better the affluence of his situation
But the owners of the great mercantile 
capitals are necessarily the leaders and conductors 
of the whole industry of every nation
and their example has a much greater 
influence upon the manners of the whole industrious 
part of it than that of any other 
order of men. If his employer is attentive 
and parsimonious, the workman is very likely 
to be so too; but if the master in dissolute 
and disorderly, the servant, who shapes his 
work according to the pattern which his master 
prescribes to him, will shape his life, too, 
according to the example which he sets him. 
Accumulation is thus prevented in the hands 
of all those who are naturally the most disposed 
to accumulate; and the funds destined 
for the maintenance of productive labour
receive no augmentation from the revenue of 
those who ought naturally to augment them 
the most. The capital of the country, instead 
of increasing, gradually dwindles away, 
and the quantity of productive labour maintained 
in it grows every day less and less. 
Have the exorbitant profits of the merchants 
of Cadiz and Lisbon augmented the capital 
of Spain and Portugal? Have they alleviated 
the poverty, have they promoted the industry
of those two beggarly countries? Such has 
been the tone of mercantile expense in those 
two trading cities, that those exorbitant profits
far from augmenting the general capital 
of the country, seem scarce to have been 
sufficient to keep up the capitals upon which 
they were made. Foreign capitals are every 
day intruding themselves, if I may say so, 
more and more into the trade of Cadiz and 
Lisbon. It is to expel those foreign capitals 
from a trade which their own grows every 
day more and more insufficient for carrying 
on, that the Spaniards and Portuguese endeavour 
every day to straiten more and more the 
galling bands of their absurd monopoly
Compare the mercantile manners of Cadiz 
and Lisbon with those of Amsterdam, and 
you will be sensible how differently the conduct 
and character of merchants are affected 
by the high and by the low profits of stock
The merchants of London, indeed, have not 
yet generally become such magnificent lords 
as those of Cadiz and Lisbon; but neither 
are they in general such attentive and parsimonious 
burghers as those of Amsterdam
They are supposed, however, many of them, 
to be a good deal richer than the greater part 
of the former, and not quite so rich as many 
of the latter: but the rate of their profit is 
commonly much lower than that of the former, 
and a good deal higher than that of the 
latter. Light come, light go, says the proverb
and the ordinary tone of expense seems 
everywhere to be regulated, not so much according 
to the real ability of spending, as 
to the supposed facility of getting money to 
It is thus that the single advantage which 
the monopoly procures to a single order of 
men, is in many different ways hurtful to the 
general interest of the country. 
To found a great empire for the sole purpose 
of raising up a people of customers, 
may at first sight, appear a project fit only 
for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, 
a project altogether unfit for a nation of 
shopkeepers, but extremely fit for a nation 
whose government is influenced by shopkeepers
Such statesmen, and such statesmen 
only, are capable of fancying that they 
will find some advantage in employing the 
blood and treasure of their fellow-citizens, to 
found and maintain such an empire. Say to 
a shopkeeper, Buy me a good estate, and I 
shall always buy my clothes at your shop
even though I should pay somewhat dearer 
than what I can have them for at other shops
and you will not find him very forward to 
embrace your proposal. But should any 
other person buy you such an estate, the 
shopkeeper will be much obliged to your benefactor 
if he would enjoin you to buy all 
your clothes at his shop. England purchased 
for some of her subjects, who found themselves 
uneasy at home, a great estate in a 
distant country. The price, indeed, was very 
small, and instead of thirty years purchase
the ordinary price of land in the present 
times, it amounted to little more than the 
expense of the different equipments which 
made the first discovery, reconoitered the 
coast, and took a fictitious possession of the 
country. The land was good, and of great 
extent; and the cultivators having plenty of 
good ground to work upon, and being for 
some time at liberty to sell their produce 
where they pleased, became, in the course of