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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: February 2011

1 - Introduction


'Tis Labour then which puts the greatest part of Value upon Land, without which it would scarcely be worth any thing … For 'tis not barely the Plough-man's Pains, the Reaper's and Thresher's Toil, and the Baker's Sweat, is to be counted into the Bread we eat; the Labour of those who broke the Oxen, who digged and wrought the Iron and Stones, who felled and framed the Timber imployed about the Plough, Mill, Oven, or any other Utensils, which are a vast Number, requisite to this Corn, from its being seed to be sown to its being made Bread, must all be charged on the account of Labour … 'Twould be a strange Catalogue of things, that Industry provided and made use of, about every Loaf of Bread, before it came to our use, if we could trace them; Iron, Wood, Leather, Bark, Timber, Stone, Bricks, Coals, Lime, Cloth, Dying-Drugs, Pitch, Tar, Masts, Ropes, and all the Materials made use of in the Ship, that brought any of the Commodities made use of by any of the Workmen.

John Locke, Two Treatises of Government

[O]ur People are strong and able for Work at Home … and naturally as ingenious, industrious, and willing to labour as any part of Mankind, so long as they can have a reasonable fruit of their Labours.

William Petyt, Britannia Languens or a Discourse on Trade

Two shillings and sixpence a day, will undoubtedly tempt some to work, who would not touch a tool for one shilling. […]

Petyt, William, Britannia Languens or a Discourse on Trade (London, 1680)
McCulloch, J. P., A Select Collection of Early English Tracts on Commerce (Cambridge, 1954), p. 313