by means of his public character, interfere 
with more authority and afford them a more 
powerful protection than they could expect 
from any private man. The interests of 
commerce have frequently made it necessary 
to maintain ministers in foreign countries, 
where the purposes either of war or alliance 
would not have required any. The commerce 
of the Turkey company first occasioned the 
establishment of an ordinary ambassador at 
Constantinople. The first English embassies 
to Russia arose altogether from commercial 
interests. The constant interference with 
those interests, necessarily occasioned between 
the subjects of the different states of Europe, 
has probably introduced the custom of keeping, 
in all neighbouring countries, ambassadors 
or ministers constantly resident, even in 
the time of peace. This custom, unknown to 
ancient times, seems not to be older than the 
end of the fifteenth, or beginning of the sixteenth 
century; that is, than the time when 
commerce first began to extend itself to the 
greater part of the nations of Europe, and 
when they first began to attend to its interests
It seems not unreasonable, that the extraordinary 
expense which the protection of any 
particular branch of commerce may occasion, 
should be defrayed by a moderate tax upon 
that particular branch; by a moderate fine
for example, to be paid by the traders when 
they first enter into it; or, what is more 
equal, by a particular duty of so much per 
cent. upon the goods which they either import 
into, or export out of, the particular 
countries with which it is carried on. The 
protection of trade, in general, from pirates 
and freebooters, is said to have given occasion 
to the first institution of the duties of customs. 
But, if it was thought reasonable to 
lay a general tax upon trade, in order to defray 
the expense of protecting trade in general
it should seem equally reasonable to lay 
a particular tax upon a particular branch of 
trade, in order to defray the extraordinary 
expense of protecting that branch
The protection of trade, in general, has 
always been considered as essential to the 
defence of the commonwealth, and, upon that 
account, a necessary part of the duty of the 
executive power. The collection and application 
of the general duties of customs, 
therefore, have always been left to that power
But the protection of any particular branch 
of trade is a part of the general protection of 
trade; a part, therefore, of the duty of that 
power; and if nations always acted consistently, 
the particular duties levied for the 
purposes of such particular protection, should 
always have been left equally to its disposal
But in this respect, as well as in many others, 
nations have not always acted consistently; 
and in the greater part of the commercial 
states of Europe, particular companies of 
merchants have had the address to persuade 
the legislature to entrust to them the performance 
of this part of the duty of the sovereign
together with all the powers which are 
necessarily connected with it. 
These companies, though they may, perhaps, 
have been useful for the first introduction 
of some branches of commerce, by 
making, at their own expense, an experiment 
which the state might not think it prudent to 
make, have in the long-run proved, universally
either burdensome or useless, and have 
either mismanaged or confined the trade
When those companies do not trade upon a 
joint stock, but are obliged to admit any person
properly qualified, upon paying a certain 
fine, and agreeing to submit to the regulations 
of the company, each member trading upon 
his own stock, and at his own risk, they are 
called regulated companies. When they trade 
upon a joint stock, each member sharing in 
the common profit or loss, in proportion to his 
share in this stock, they are called joint-stock 
companies. Such companies, whether regulated 
or joint-stock, sometimes have, and sometimes 
have not, exclusive privileges
Regulated companies resemble, in every respect
the corporation of trades, so common in 
the cities and towns of all the different countries 
of Europe; and are a sort of enlarged 
monopolies of the same kind. As no inhabitant 
of a town can exercise an incorporated 
trade, without first obtaining his freedom in 
the incorporation, so, in most cases, no subject 
of the state can lawfully carry on any branch 
of foreign trade, for which a regulated company 
is established, without first becoming a 
member of that company. The monopoly is 
more or less strict, according as the terms of 
admission are more or less difficult, and according 
as the directors of the company have 
more or less authority, or have it more or less 
in their power to manage in such a manner as 
to confine the greater part of the trade to themselves 
and their particular friends. In the 
most ancient regulated companies, the privileges 
of apprenticeship were the same as in 
other corporations, and entitled the person 
who had served his time to a member of the 
company, to become himself a member, either 
without paying any fine, or upon paying
much smaller one than what was exacted of 
other people. The usual corporation spirit
wherever the law does not restrain it, prevails 
in all regulated companies. When they have 
been allowed to act according to their natural 
genius, they have always, in order to confine 
the competition to as small a number of persons 
as possible, endeavoured to subject the 
trade to many burdensome regulations. When 
the law has restrained them from doing this, 
they have become altogether useless and insignificant. 
The regulated companies for foreign commerce 
which at present subsist in Great Britain,