Political economy, considered as a branch of the science of a statesman or
legislator, proposes two distinct objects: first, to provide a plentiful revenue
or subsistence for the people, or more properly to enable them to provide such
a revenue or subsistence for themselves; and secondly, to supply the state
or commonwealth with a revenue sufficient for the public services. It proposes
to enrich both the people and the sovereign.
The different progress of opulence in different ages and nations has given
occasion to two different systems of political economy with regard to enriching
the people. The one may be called the system of commerce, the other that
of agriculture. I shall endeavour to explain both as fully and distinctly
as I can, and shall begin with the system of commerce. It is the modern system,
and is best understood in our own country and in our own times.