which they have occasioned. These misfortunes, 
however, seem to have arisen rather 
from accident than from any thing in the nature 
of those events themselves. At the particular 
time when these discoveries were made
the superiority of force happened to be so 
great on the side of the Europeans, that they 
were enabled to commit with impunity every 
sort of injustice in those remote countries
Hereafter, perhaps, the natives of those countries 
may grow stronger, or those of Europe 
may grow weaker; and the inhabitants of all 
the different quarters of the world may arrive 
at that equality of courage and force which, 
by inspiring mutual fear, can alone overawe 
the injustice of independent nations into some 
sort of respect for the rights of one another. 
But nothing seems more likely to establish 
this equality of force, than that mutual communication 
of knowledge, and of all sorts of 
improvements, which an extensive commerce 
from all countries to all countries naturally
or rather necessarily, carries along with it. 
In the mean time, one of the principal effects 
of those discoveries has been, to raise the 
mercantile system to a degree of splendour 
and glory which it could never otherwise have 
attained to. It is the object of that system 
to enrich a great nation, rather by trade and 
manufactures than by the improvement and 
cultivation of land, rather by the industry of 
the towns than by that of the country. But 
in consequence of those discoveries, the commercial 
towns of Europe, instead of being 
the manufacturers and carriers for but a very 
small part of the world (that part of Europe 
which is washed by the Atlantic ocean, and 
the countries which lie round the Baltic and 
Mediterranean seas), have now become the 
manufacturers for the numerous and thriving 
cultivators of America, and the carriers, and 
in some respects the manufacturers too, for 
almost all the different nations of Asia
Africa, and America. Two new worlds have 
been opened to their industry, each of them 
much greater and more extensive than the 
old one, and the market of one of them growing 
still greater and greater every day
The countries which possess the colonies of 
America, and which trade directly to the East 
Indies, enjoy indeed the whole show and 
splendour of this great commerce. Other 
countries, however, notwithstanding all the 
invidious restraints by which it is meant to 
exclude them, frequently enjoy a greater 
share of the real benefit of it. The colonies 
of Spain and Portugal, for example, give 
more real encouragement to the industry of 
other countries than to that of Spain and Portugal
In the single article of linen alone, 
the consumption of those colonies amounts, it 
is said (but I do not pretend to warrant the 
quantity), to more than three millions sterling 
a-year. But this great consumption is almost 
entirely supplied by France, Flanders, Holland
and Germany. Spain and Portugal 
furnish but a small part of it. The capital 
which supplies the colonies with this great 
quantity of linen, is annually distributed among, 
and furnishes a revenue to, the inhabitants 
of those other countries. The profits 
of it only are spent in Spain and Portugal
where they help to support the sumptuous 
profusion of the merchants of Cadiz and 
Even the regulations by which each nation 
endeavours to secure to itself the exclusive 
trade of its own colonies, are frequently more 
hurtful to the countries in favour of which 
they are established, than to those against 
which they are established. The unjust oppression 
of the industry of other countries 
falls back, if I may say so, upon the heads 
of the oppressors, and crushes their industry 
more than it does that of those other countries
By those regulations, for example, the 
merchant of Hamburg must send the linen 
which he destines for the American market 
to London, and he must bring back from 
thence the tobacco which he destines for the 
German market; because he can neither send 
the one directly to America, nor bring the 
other directly from thence. By this restraint 
he is probably obliged to sell the one somewhat 
cheaper, and to buy the other somewhat 
dearer, than he otherwise might have done; 
and his profits are probably somewhat abridged 
by means of it. In this trade, however, 
between Hamburg and London, he certainly 
receives the returns of his capital much more 
quickly than he could possibly have done in 
the direct trade to America, even though we 
should suppose, what is by no means the case, 
that the payments of America were as punctual 
as those of London. In the trade
therefore, to which those regulations confine 
the merchant of Hamburg, his capital can 
keep in constant employment a much greater 
quantity of German industry than he possibly 
could have done in the trade from which he 
is excluded. Though the one employment
therefore, may to him perhaps be less profitable 
than the other, it cannot be less advantageous 
to his country. It is quite otherwise 
with the employment into which the monopoly 
naturally attracts, if I may say so, the 
capital of the London merchant. That employment 
may, perhaps, be more profitable to 
him than the greater part of other employments
but on account of the slowness of the 
returns, it cannot be more advantageous to 
his country
After all the unjust attempts, therefore, of 
every country in Europe to engross to itself 
the whole advantage of the trade of its own 
colonies, no country has yet been able to 
engross to itself any thing but the expense of 
supporting in time of peace, and of defending 
in time of war, the oppressive authority which 
it assumes over them. The inconveniencies