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he will have withdrawn from the mass the exact equivalent of what he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