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2. But when the division of labour first began to take place, this power of exchanging must frequently have been very much clogged and embarrassed in its operations. One man, we shall suppose, has more of a certain commodity than he himself has occasion for, while another has less. The former, consequently, would be glad to dispose of, and the latter to purchase, a part of this superfluity. But if this latter should chance to have nothing that the former stands in need of, no exchange can be made between them. The butcher has more meat in his shop than he himself can consume, and the brewer and the baker would each of them be willing to purchase part of it. But they have nothing to offer in exchange except the different productions of their respective trades, and the butcher is already provided with all the bread and beer which he has immediate occasion for. No exchange can, in this case, be made between them. He cannot be their merchant, nor they his customers; and they are all of them thus less mutually serviceable to one another.
3. In order to avoid the inconveniency of such situations, every prudent man in every period of society, after the first establishment of the division of labour, must naturally have endeavoured to manage his affairs in such a manner as to have at all times by him, besides the peculiar produce of his own industry, a certain quantity of some article or other, such as he imagined few people would be likely to refuse in exchange for the produce of their industry
4. Many different commodities, it is probable, were successively both thought of and employed for this purpose. In the rude ages of society, cattle are said to have been the common instruments of commerce; and, though they must have been a most inconvenient one, yet in old times we find things were frequently valued according to the number of cattle which had been given in exchange for them.
5. The armour of Diomede, says Homer, cost only nine oxen; but that of Glaucus cost an hundred oxen. Salt is said to be the common instrument of commerce and exchange in Abyssinia; a species of shells in some parts of the coast of India; dried cod at Newfoundland; tobacco in Virginia; sugar in some of the West India colonies; hides or dressed leather in some other countries; and there was, about a hundred years ago, a village in Scotland where it was not uncommon for a workman to carry nails instead of money to the baker's shop.
6. In all countries, however, men seem at last to have been determined by irresistible reasons to give the preference for this employment to metals above every other commodity. Metals can not only be kept with as little loss as any other commodity, scarce anything being less perishable than they are, but they can likewise, without any loss, be divided into any number of parts, as by fusion those parts can easily be re-united again; a quality which no other equally durable commodities possess, and which, more than any other quality, renders them fit to be the instruments of commerce and circulation. The man who wanted to buy salt, for example, and had nothing but cattle to give in exchange for it, must have been obliged to buy salt to the value of a whole ox or a whole sheep at a time.
7. He could seldom buy less than this, because what he was to give for it could seldom be divided without loss; and, if he had a mind to buy more, he must, for the same reasons, have been obliged to buy double or triple the quantity, the value, to wit, of two or three oxen, or of two or three sheep. If, on the contrary, instead of sheep or oxen he had metals to give in exchange for it, he could easily proportion the quantity of the metal to the precise quantity of the commodity which he had immediate occasion for.
8. Different metals have been made use of by different nations for this purpose. Iron was the common instrument of commerce among the ancient Spartans; copper among the ancient Romans, and gold and silver among all rich and commercial nations.—Adam Smith.
prudent, practically wise.
[Greece. Spartans, a people of ancient
How are the most of man's wants supplied? What may you style one who exchanges ? What difficulties arose at first when exchanges were made? Give instances where exchange of commodities became inconvenient and impracticable. What articles were used in the rude ages of society as instruments of commerce? Give the respective values of the armour of Diomede and Glaucus. What is said to be the article of exchange in Abyssinia? What on some parts of the coast of India? What at Newfoundland ? Why have metals been generally preferred as the instrument of exchange? Give the different metals used by different nations of antiquity.
MIDNIGHT IN THE NORTH.
1. We are all on deck to-night, passengers and sailors, leaning on the bulwarks and looking towards the north. It is eleven o'clock, and the sun has but lately set. We can see exactly where he is below that line of distant
upon the shore. They were dull gray two hours ago, but now they have a tint of deepest purple, and their outlines are wondrously sharp. There is a thin filma mere transparent veil of cirro-stratus or halo-cloud out there—a sheet of what would be thin fog, but that it is some two or three miles high.
2. The colours of the sunset cling to this, and the sun below the horizon throws a clear and definite light upon it as upon a screen. It marks distinctly the position of the sun, and thus we are able to watch him gliding on
slowly from west to north, sinking in the meanwhile a little more.
Now it is midnight, and the subterranean sun due north. There is light enough to read a newspaper if it face the north. Just over the sun is a vanishing semicircle of buff light; westward it grows to orange, and from this orange zone broad bands of browning red stretch upwards and outwards.
3. On the eastern side the buff tint melts and darkens into a fresh cool gray. Further on, in a widening circle, extending upwards and eastwards and westwards to the south horizon, all these colours melt away gradually to neutral gloominess. There, at the southern meetingplace of sea and sky, both are mingled in one heavy leaden semi-darkness. This is the region of night; still further on, over the bending sea, men have been burning gas and candles for the last three hours or more. We have all learned book-wise that it is so, but here the southward darkness is visible. So are the sunny
midnights of the opposite north. There is the sun, obvious though unseen; his body hidden by the earth's rotundity; but the lighted atmosphere, visible beyond the distant mountain tops, shows both his presence and position in the region of continuous summer day.
4. Thus visible all at once from the ship's deck are evening and morning, night and day; sunrise and sunset seen together. Though definitely separated by the north midnight glow, the character of each marked most distinctly and shown in curious contrast. Why there should be such difference I am not able to explain; why the sun's rays in passing westward should tint the sky with warm, languid, evening colours, while those spreading upwards at the same moment towards the east should look so cool, and gray, and wakeful, I cannot tell; but here they are side by side, and unmistakably contrasted. We all linger on the deck long after midnight, then one by one descend.
5. I had scarcely reached the cabin-door, when I heard the mate call to the captain to look over the starboardbow at a ship on fire. Of course I hastened
deck in, and looked over the starboard-bow forthwith. We soon perceived that it was not a ship on fire, but the