While reading An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, which is available online, I highlighted a few interesting paragraphs. Most of it is fairly sensible and quite easy to read for something published 300 years before I was born:
Eighteen pence a day may be reckoned the common price of labour in London and its neighbourhood.
There are many commodities, therefore, which, in consequence of these improvements, come to be produced by so much less labour than before, that the increase of its price is more than compensated by the diminution of its quantity.
People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the publick, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
Nothing can be more convenient for such a person than to be able to purchase his subsistence from day to day.
Holland, in proportion to the extent of the land and the number of its inhabitants, by far the richest country in Europe, hash, accordingly, the greatest share of the carrying trade of Europe.
Taxes imposed with a view to prevent, or even to diminish importation, are evidently as destructive of the revenue of the customs as of the freedom of trade.
To propose that Great Britain should voluntarily give up all authority over her colonies, and leave them to elect their own magistrates, to enact their own laws, and to make peace and war as they might think propper, would be to propose such a measure as never was, and never will be adopted, by any nation in the world.
The discover of America, and that of a passage to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope, are the two greatest and more important events revorded in the history of mankind.
In England the publick schools are much less corrupted than the universities.
The are no publick institutions for the education of women.
The private revenue of individuals arises ultimately from three difference sources: Rent, Profit, and Wages.
It is not contrary to justice that both Ireland and America should contribute towards the discharge of the publick debt of Great Britain.
The rulers of Great Britain have, for more than a century past, amused the people with the imagination that they possessed a great empire on the west side of the Atlantic.