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In the following humble pages, on the beneficial Direction of Rural Expenditure, my wish has been to suggest some occupations to the rich which may combine amusement and advantage; and to introduce at the same time, those maxims of political economy which appeared connected with the questions discussed.
I have endeavoured to elucidate some parts of my subject by historical illustrations, which may, perhaps, serve to excuse an occasional digression, and hope the intention of my Essay will be an apology for many faults in its execution.
Mr. Colquhoun calculated, a few years ago, that the income of the various persons forming the landed interest (not including any below 270l. per annum each), amounted to above 80 millions sterling. It is needless to insist on the importance to the country of a beneficial direction of so large a sum, if we consider only its direct result; but when we see the vast influence which the example of opulent land-owners must have on all other classes, when we recollect, that they are quoted as authority by the circle round them, set the fashion of expenditure even in the metropolis, and that they will give a bad or a good tone to society, according to the considerations which have habitually guided their conduct elsewhere, the consequence of the subject becomes still more apparent.
* Wealth and Resources of the British Empire.