Reciprocity Again

Mr. de Saint Cricq has asked: Are we sure that our foreign customers

will buy from us as much as they sell us?

Mr. de Dombasle says: What reason have we for believing that English

producers will come to seek their supplies from us, rather than from any

other nation, or that they will take from us a value equivalent to their

exportations into France?

I cannot but wonder to see men who boast,
bove all things, of being

practical, thus reasoning wide of all practice!

In practice, there is perhaps no traffic which is a direct exchange of

produce for produce. Since the use of money, no man says, I will seek

shoes, hats, advice, lessons, only from the shoemaker, the hatter, the

lawyer, or teacher, who will buy from me the exact equivalent of these

in corn. Why should nations impose upon themselves so troublesome a


Suppose a nation without any exterior relations. One of its citizens

makes a crop of corn. He casts it into the national circulation, and

receives in exchange--what? Money, bank bills, securities, divisible to

any extent, by means of which it will be lawful for him to withdraw when

he pleases, and, unless prevented by just competition from the national

circulation, such articles as he may wish. At the end of the operation,

he will have withdrawn from the mass the exact equivalent of what he

first cast into it, and in value, his consumption will exactly equal

his production.

If the exchanges of this nation with foreign nations are free, it is no

longer into the national circulation but into the general

circulation that each individual casts his produce, and from thence his

consumption is drawn. He is not obliged to calculate whether what he

casts into this general circulation is purchased by a countryman or by a

foreigner; whether the notes he receives are given to him by a Frenchman

or an Englishman, or whether the articles which he procures through

means of this money are manufactured on this or the other side of the

Rhine or the Pyrenees. One thing is certain; that each individual finds

an exact balance between what he casts in and what he withdraws from the

great common reservoir; and if this be true of each individual, it is

not less true of the entire nation.

The only difference between these two cases is, that in the last, each

individual has open to him a larger market both for his sales and his

purchases, and has, consequently, a more favorable opportunity of making

both to advantage.

The objection advanced against us here, is, that if all were to combine

in not withdrawing from circulation the produce from any one individual,

he, in his turn, could withdraw nothing from the mass. The same, too,

would be the case with regard to a nation.

Our answer is: If a nation can no longer withdraw any thing from the

mass of circulation, neither will it any longer cast any thing into it.

It will work for itself. It will be obliged to submit to what, in

advance, you wish to force upon it, viz., Isolation. And here you have

the ideal of the prohibitive system.

Truly, then, is it not ridiculous enough that you should inflict upon it

now, and unnecessarily, this system, merely through fear that some day

or other it might chance to be subjected to it without your assistance?