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The causes of the varying wealth and poverty of nations have naturally at all times attracted the
eager attention of mankind. For a long time, however, it was thought that there was nothing in the subject very difficult to understand : that the only way for a people to get rich was to procure money or bullion, and that the only way to get poor was to part with them. The art of enriching nations obviously consisted, therefore, in devising the means, first, of getting possession of as much of the precious metals as possible, and then, of holding them fast so as to keep the heap ever grow
It is in the different measures, or rather systems of measures, successively adopted to effect these purposes, that we must trace the rude but very decided political economy of the ages which elapsed between the conquest of England and the middle of the last century.
For some time, however, before this later period, there may
be discerned, meandering through the huge