Adam Smith's Simplified Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 11b: Rent -- Crops: The produce that always affords rent

Chapter 11b, Part 1: Rent -- Crops


37 An undoubted maxim in ancient agriculture and in all the modern wine countries was that the perfected vineyard was the most valuable part of the farm. 38 When the rent and profit of the produce, which need more expensive improvement and cultivation, only compensate their added expence, they are in reality regulated by the rent and profit of corn and grass. 39 Sometimes, the land for a certain produce is too small to supply the effective demand. 40 The natural proportion between the rent and profit of wine and those of corn and pasture happens only with common wine vineyards which can be grown on any soil. 41 The vine is more affected by the difference of soils than any other fruit tree.

Sugar Prices

42 The sugar colonies in the West Indies may be compared to those precious vineyards.
Pierre Poivre

What is there called the quintal weighs from 150 to 200 Paris pounds, or a hundred and seventy-five Paris pounds at a medium, which reduces the price of the hundred weight English to about eight shillings sterling, not a fourth part of what is commonly paid for the brown or muskavada sugars imported from our colonies, and not a sixth part of what is paid for the finest white sugar.

Tobacco Prices

43 In Virginia and Maryland, tobacco cultivation is preferred as more profitable than corn.

44In this way, the rent of the cultivated lands for human food regulates the rent of most other cultivated lands.

45 In Europe, corn serves immediately as human food and is the principal produce. 46 The rent of common land would be higher if the production of the favourite vegetable food of the people were more than corn.

Rice Prices

47 A rice field produces more food than the most fertile corn field. 48 A good rice field is a bog at all seasons.


49 The amount of food produced by potato fields is: 50 The land fit for potatoes is fit for other vegetables. 51 In some parts of Lancashire and Scotland, it is pretended that oatmeal bread is heartier for labouring people than wheaten bread. 52 It is difficult to preserve potatoes through the year.
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Next: Book 1, Chapter 11D, Part 2: Clothes