XXIII.14 On the products of the earth that require more or fewer men

Countries of pas­ture lands are spar­sely popu­la­ted, because few men find any­thing to do there ; fields of grain occupy more men, and vineyards infi­ni­tely more.

In England it has often been com­plai­ned that the increase in pas­ture lands redu­ced the popu­la­tion1 ; and we observe in France that the great quan­tity of vineyards is one of the main rea­sons for the abun­dance of men.

Countries where coal mines fur­nish com­bus­ti­ble mat­ter have the advan­tage over others that there is no need for forests, and all the land can be culti­va­ted.

In pla­ces where rice grows, great ear­th­works are requi­red to manage the water ; many men can the­re­fore be employed in that. Moreover, less land is requi­red to pro­vide sub­sis­tance for a family than in pla­ces that pro­duce other grains ; finally, the land which elsew­here is used to feed ani­mals there ser­ves directly to pro­vide food for men ; the work which elsew­here is done by ani­mals is done there by men ; and culti­va­tion of the land beco­mes, for the men, a gigan­tic manu­fac­tory.

Most landowners, says Burnet, finding more profit by selling their wool than their grain, fenced in their property ; the communes which were dying of hunger rose up ; a new agrarian law was proposed ; the young king himself wrote about it : proclamations were made against those who had fenced in their lands (History of the Reformation of the Church of England, p. 44 and 83).