The Simplified Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith -- Book 3, Chapter 4a: How commerce contributes to economic development

Chapter 4a: How commerce contributed to economic development

1 The increase and riches of commercial and manufacturing towns contributed to the improvement and cultivation of their countries in three ways.
  1. 2 They encouraged its cultivation and improvement by affording a great and ready market for the rude produce of the country.
  1. 3 The wealth acquired by the city people was frequently used to purchase uncultivated land.
  1. 4 Commerce and manufactures gradually introduced order, good government, and the liberty and security of individuals, among the people of the countryside.
5 In a country which has neither foreign commerce nor finer manufactures, a great proprietor has nothing to exchange for the excess produce of his lands.
Westminster Hall
Richard Pococke
Richard Pococke
6 The occupiers of land were as dependent on the great proprietor as his retainers. 7 The power of the ancient barons was founded on the authority the great proprietor had over their tenants and retainers. 8 It is a mistake to imagine that those territorial jurisdictions originated from the feudal law.
Donald Cameron
Donald Cameron
9 The introduction of the feudal law was an attempt to moderate the authority of the great allodial lords.

10"But what all the violence of the feudal institutions could never have effected, the silent and insensible operation of foreign commerce and manufactures gradually brought about."

11 In a country with no foreign commerce nor finer manufactures, a man of £10,000 a year can only employ his revenue in maintaining, perhaps, 1,000 families who are all at his command. 12 When great proprietors of land spend their rents in maintaining their tenants and retainers, they maintain all their own tenants and retainers. 13 The personal expence of the great proprietors gradually increased in this manner. 14 Even a tenant at will who pays the full value of the land, is not dependent on the landlord. 15 The great proprietors could no longer interrupt justice or disturb the peace of the country when their tenants became independent and their retainers were dismissed.
Next: Chapter 4b: Dynasties