The Use and Benefit of Tradeby Nicholas Barbon
The Use of Trade is to make, and provide things Necessary or useful for the Support, Defence, Ease, Pleasure, and Pomp of Life. Thus:
- the Brewers, Bakers, Butchers, Poulterers, Cocks, with the Apothecaries, Surgeons, and their Dependencies provide Food, and Medicine for the support of Life
- the Cutlers, Gun-smiths, Powder- makers, with their Company of Traders, make things for Defence
- the Shoo-makers Sadlers, Couch, and Chair-makers, with abundance more for the Ease of Life
- the Perfumers, Fidlers, Painters, and Booksellers, and all those Trades that make things to gratifie the Sense, or delight the Mind, promote Pleasure.
But those Trades that are employed to express the Pomp of Life are Infinite.
Besides those that adorn Mans Body, as the Glover, Hosier, Hatter, Semstriss, Taylor, and many more, with those that make the Materials to Deck it; as Clothier, Silk-Weaver, Lace-Maker, Ribbon-Weaver, with their Assistance of Drapers, Mercers, and Milliners, and a Thousand more: Those Trades that make the Equipage for Servants, Trappings for Horses; and those that Build, Furnish, and Adorn Houses, are innumerable.
Thus Busy Man is imployed, and it is for his own Benefit.
For by Trade, the Natural Stock of the Country is improved, the Wool and Flax, are made into Cloth; the Skins, into Leather; and the Wood, Lead, Iron and Tin, wrought into Thousand useful Things:
The Over-plus of these Wares not useful, are transported by the Merchants and Exchanged for the Wines, Oyls, Spices, and every Thing that is good of Forreign Countries:
The Trader hath One Share for his Pains, and the Land-Lord the Other for his Rent: So, that by Trade, the Inhabitants in general, are not only well Fed, Clothed and Lodged; but the Richer sort are Furnished with all things to promote the Ease, Pleasure & Pomp of Life: Whereas, in the same Country, where there’s no Trade, the Land-Lords would have but Coarse Diet, Coarser Clothes, and worse Lodgings; and nothing for the Rent of their Lands, but the Homage and Attendance of their Poor Bare-footed Tenants, for they have nothing else to give.
Trade Raises the Rent of the Land, for by the Use of several sorts of Improvements, the Land Yieldeth a greater natural Stock; by which, the Land-lord’s Share is the greater: And it is the same thing, whether his Share be paid in Mony, or Goods; for the Mony must be laid out to Buy such Good’s: Mony is an Immaginary Value made by a Law, for the Conveniency of Exchange: It is the Natural Stock that is the Real Value, and Rent of the Land.
Another Benefit of Trade is that it brings peace as well as plenty.
As the Northern Nations increased, they were forced from the Necessities of their Climates, to Remove; and used to Destroy, and Conquer the Inhabitants of the Warmer Climates to make Room for themselves.
Thence was a Proverb, Omne Malum ab Aquilone:
But those Northern People being settled in Trade, the Land by their Industry, is made more Fertile; and by the Exchange of the Nations Stock, for Wines and Spices, of Hotter Climates, those Countries become most Habitable; and the Inhabitants having Warmer Food, Clothes, and Lodgings, are better able to endure the Extreamitys of their Cold Seasons:
This seems to be the Reason, that for these Seven or Eight Hundred years last past, there has been no such Invasions from the Northern part of the World, as used to destroy the Inhabitants of the Warmer Countries: Besides, Trade allows a better Price for labourers, than is paid for Fighting: So it is become more the Interest of Mankind to live at home in Peace, than to seek their fortunes abroad by Wars.
These are the Benefits of Trade, as they Relate to Mankind; those that Relate to Government, are many.
Trade Increases the Revenue of the Government by providing employment for the People.
For every Man that Works, pay by those things which he Eats and Wears, something to the Government. Thus, the Excise and Custom’s are Raised, and the more every Man Earns, the more he Consumes, and the King’s Revenue is the more Increased.
This shews the way of Determining those Controversies, about which sort of Goods are most beneficial to the Government, by their Making, or Importing.
The sole difference is from the Number of hands imploy’d in making them.
Hence the Importation of Raw Silk, is more Profitable to the Government than Gold, or Silver; Because there are more Hands imployd in the Throwing, and Weaving of the First; than there can be in working the Latter.
Another Benefit of Trade is, It is Useful for the Defence of the Government.
It provides the Magazines of War.
The Guns, Powder, and Bullets, are all made of Minerals, and are wrought by Traders; Besides, those Minerals are not to be had in all Countries; The great stock of Saltpeter is brought from the East Indies, and therefore must be Imported by the Merchant, for the Exchange of the Natives Stock.
The last Benefit is That Trade may enlarge an Empire by seafreight more than military conquest can.
- the French King’s seeming Attempt to Raise Empire in Europe, being that Common Theam of Mens Discourse, has caused some short Reflections, which will appear by Comparing the Difficulty of the one, with the Probability of the other.