smaller quantity of their own labour, than 
what they would be obliged to employ, if they 
were to attempt, in an awkward and unskilful 
manner, either to import the one, or to 
make the other, for their own use. By means 
of the unproductive class, the cultivators are 
delivered from many cares, which would 
otherwise distract their attention from the 
cultivation of land. The superiority of produce
which in consequence of this undivided 
attention, they are enabled to raise, is fully 
sufficient to pay the whole expense which the 
maintenance and employment of the unproductive 
class costs either the proprietors or 
themselves. The industry of merchants, artificers
and manufacturers, though in its own 
nature altogether unproductive, yet contributes 
in this manner indirectly to increase the produce 
of the land. It increases the productive 
powers of productive labour, by leaving 
it at liberty to confine itself to its proper 
employment, the cultivation of land; and the 
plough goes frequently the easier and the 
better, by means of the labour of the man 
whose business is most remote from the 
It can never be the interest of the proprietors 
and cultivators, to restrain or to discourage, 
in any respect, the industry of merchants
artificers, and manufacturers. The greater 
the liberty which this unproductive class enjoys
the greater will be the competition in all 
the different trades which compose it, and the 
cheaper will the other two classes be supplied, 
both with foreign goods and with the manufactured 
produce of their own country
It can never be the interest of the unproductive 
class to oppress the other two classes
It is the surplus produce of the land, or what 
remains after deducting the maintenance, first 
of the cultivators, and afterwards of the proprietors, 
that maintains and employs the unproductive 
class. The greater this surplus
the greater must likewise be the maintenance 
and employment of that class. The establishment 
of perfect justice, of perfect liberty, and 
of perfect equality, is the very simple secret 
which most effectually secures the highest degree 
of prosperity to all the three classes
The merchants, artificers, and manufacturers 
of those mercantile states, which, like Holland 
and Hamburgh, consist chiefly of this 
unproductive class, are in the same manner 
maintained and employed altogether at the 
expense of the proprietors and cultivators of 
land. The only difference is, that those proprietors 
and cultivators are, the greater part 
of them, placed at a most inconvenient distance 
from the merchants, artificers, and manufacturers
whom they supply with the materials 
of their work and the fund of their 
subsistence; are the inhabitants of other 
countries, and the subjects of other governments. 
Such mercantile states, however, are not 
only useful, but greatly useful, to the inhabitants 
of these other countries. They fill 
up, in some measure, a very important void
and supply the place of the merchants, artificers, 
and manufacturers, whom the inhabitants 
of those countries ought to find at home
but whom, from some defect in their policy, 
they do not find at home
It can never be the interest of those landed 
nations, if I may call them so, to discourage 
or distress the industry of such mercantile 
states, by imposing high duties upon their 
trade, or upon the commodities which they 
furnish. Such duties, by rendering those 
commodities dearer, could serve only to sink 
the real value of the surplus produce of their 
own land, with which, or, what comes to the 
same thing, with the price of which those 
commodities are purchased. Such duties 
could only serve to discourage the increase of 
that surplus produce, and consequently the 
improvement and cultivation of their own 
land. The most effectual expedient, on the 
contrary, for raising the value of that surplus 
produce, for encouraging its increase, and 
consequently the improvement and cultivation 
of their own land, would be to allow the most 
perfect freedom to the trade of all such mercantile 
This perfect freedom of trade would even 
be the most effectual expedient for supplying 
them, in due time, with all the artificers
manufacturers, and merchants, whom they 
wanted at home; and for filling up, in the 
properest and most advantageous manner, 
that very important void which they felt 
The continual increase of the surplus produce 
of their land would, in due time, create 
a greater capital than what would be employed 
with the ordinary rate of profit in the 
improvement and cultivation of land; and 
the surplus part of it would naturally turn 
itself to the employment of artificers and 
manufacturers, at home. But these artificers 
and manufacturers, finding at home both the 
materials of their work and the fund of their 
subsistence, might immediately, even with 
much less art and skill be able to work as 
cheap as the little artificers and manufacturers 
of such mercantile states, who had both to 
bring from a greater distance. Even though, 
from want of art and skill, they might not for 
some time be able to work as cheap, yet, 
finding a market at home, they might be able 
to sell their work there as cheap as that of 
the artificers and manufacturers of such mercantile 
states, which could not be brought to 
that market but from so great a distance; and 
as their art and skill improved, they would 
soon be able to sell it cheaper. The artificers 
and manufacturers of such mercantile 
states, therefore, would immediately be 
rivalled in the market of those landed nations, 
and soon after undersold and justled out of it