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neighbours. The natives of Lombardy might easily resolve to retain their silk at home, and employ workmen of their own to weave it. And this will certainly be done when they grow wise and industrious, when they have sagacity to discern their true interest, and vigour to pursue
it. Mines are generally considered as the great sources of wealth, and superficial observers have thought the possession of great quantities of
precious metals the first national happiness. But Europe has long seen, with wonder and contempt, the poverty of Spain, who thought himself exempted from the labour of tilling the ground, by the conquest of Peru, with its veins of silver. Time, however, has taught even this obstinate and haughty nation, that without Agriculture they may indeed be the transmitters of money, but can never be the pos
They may dig it out of the earth, but must immediately send it away to purchase cloth or bread, and it must at last remain with some people wise enough to sell much, and to buy little; upon
their own lands, without a wish for those things which nature has denied them,
Mines are themselves of no use, without some kind of Agriculture. We have, in our own country, inexhaustible stores of iron, which lié useless in the ore for want of wood. It was never the design of Providence to feed man without his own concurrence: we have from nature only what we cannot provide for ourselves; she gives us wild fruits which art must meliorate, and drossy metals, which labour must refine.
Particular metals are valuable, because they are starce; and they are scarce, because the mines that
yield them are emptied in time. But the surface of the earth is inore liberal than its caverns. The field, which is this autumn laid naked by the sickle, will be covered, in the succeeding summer, by a new harvest ; the grass, which the cattle are devouring, shoots up again when they have passed
Agriculture, therefore, and Agriculture alone, can support us without the help of others, in certain plenty and genuine dignity. Whatever we buy from without, the sellers may refuse; whatever we sell, manufactured by art, the purchasers may reject; but, while our ground is covered with corn and cattle, we can want nothing; and if imagination should grow sick of native plenty, and call for delicacies or embellishments from other coun: tries, there is nothing which corn and cattle will not purchase.
Our country is, perhaps, beyond all others, productive of things necessary to life. The pineapple thrives better between the tropicks, and better furs are found in the northern regions. But let us not envy these unnecessary privileges. Mankind cannot subsist upon the indulgencies of nature, but must be supported by her more common gifts. They must feed upon bread, and be clothed with wool; and the nation that can furnish these universal coirmodities, may have her ships wel. comed at a thousand ports, or sit at home and receive the tribute of foreign countries, enjoy their arts, or treasure up their gold.
It is well known to those who have examined the state of other countries, that the vineyards of France are more than equivalent to the mines of America; and that one great use of Indian gold, and Peruvian silver, is to procure the wines of Champaigne and Burgundy. The advantage is indeed always rising on the side of France, who will certainly have wines, when Spain, by a thousand natural or accidental causes, may want silver. But surely the vallies of England have more certain stores of wealth. Wines are chosen by caprice; the products of France have not always been equally esteemed ; but there never was any age, or people, that reckoned bread among superfuities, when once it was known. The price of wheat and barley suffers not any variation, but what is caused by the uncertainty of seasons.
I am far from intending to persuade my countrymen to quit all other employments for that of manuring the ground. I mean only to prove, that we have, at home, all that we can want, and that therefore we need feel no great anxiety about the schemes of other nations for improving their arts, or extending their traffick. But there is no necessity to infer, that we should cease from commerce, before the revolution of things shall transfer it to some other regions ! Such vicissitudes the world has often seen ; and therefore such we have reason to expect. We hear many clamours of declining trade, which are not, in my opinion, always true; and many imputations of that decline to governors and ministers, which may be sometimes just, and sometimes calumnious. But it is foolish to ima. gine, that any care or policy can keep commerce at a stand, which almost every nation has enjoyed and lost, and which we must expect to lose as ye have long enjoyed it. VOL. III.
some danger, lest our neglect of Agriculture should hasten its departure.
Our industry has for many ages been employed in destroying the woods which our ancestors have planted. It is well known that commerce is carried on by ships, and that ships are built out of trees; and therefore, when I travel over naked plains, to which tradition has preserved the name of forests, or see hills arising on either hand, barren and useless, I cannot forbear to wonder, how that commerce, of which we promise ourselves the perpetuity, shall be continued by our descendants; nor can restrain a sigh, when I think on the time, a time at no great distance, when our neighbours may deprive us of our naval influence, by refusing us their timber.
By Agriculture only can commerce be perpetuated ; and by
and by Agriculture alone can we live in plenty without intercourse with other nations. This, therefore, is the great art, which every government ought to protect, every proprietor of lands to practise, and every inquirer into nature 10 improve.
VISION OF THEODORE,
THE HERMIT OF TENERIFFE,
FOUND IN HIS CELL.
SON of Perseverance, whoever thou art, whose curiosity has led thee hither, read and be wise. He that now calls upon thee is Theodore, the Hermit of Teneriffe, who in the fifty-seventh year of his retreat left this instruction to mankind, lest his solitary hours should be spent in vain.
I was once what thou art now, a groveller on the earth, and a gazer at the sky; I trafficked and heaped wealth together; I loved and was favoured; I wore the robe of honour, and heard the musick of adulation ; I was ambitious, and rose to greatness; I was unhappy, and retired. I sought for some time what I at length found here, a place where all real wants might be easily supplied, and where I might not be under the necessity of purchasing the assistance of men by the toleration of their follies. Here I saw fruits, and herbs, and water, and here determined to wait the hand of death, which I hope, when at last it comes, will fall lightly upon me.
Forty-eight years had I now passed in forgetfulness of all mortal cares, and without any in