The Little Arsenal Of The Free Trader
--If they say to you: There are no absolute principles; prohibition may
be bad, and restriction good--
Reply: Restriction prohibits all that it keeps from coming in.
--If they say to you: Agriculture is the nursing mother of the country--
Reply: That which feeds a country is not exactly agriculture, but
--If they say to you: The basis of the sustenance of t
e people is
Reply: The basis of the sustenance of the people is grain. Thus a law
which causes two bushels of grain to be obtained by agricultural labor
at the expense of four bushels, which the same labor would have
produced but for it, far from being a law of sustenance, is a law of
--If they say to you: A restriction on the admission of foreign grain
leads to more cultivation, and, consequently, to a greater home
Reply: It leads to sowing on the rocks of the mountains and the sands of
the sea. To milk and steadily milk, a cow gives more milk; for who can
tell the moment when not a drop more can be obtained? But the drop costs
--If they say to you: Let bread be dear, and the wealthy farmer will
enrich the artisans--
Reply: Bread is dear when there is little of it, a thing which can make
but poor, or, if you please, rich people who are starving.
--If they insist on it, saying: When food is dear, wages rise--
Reply by showing that in April, 1847, five-sixths of the workingmen were
--If they say to you: The profits of the workingmen must rise with the
dearness of food--
Reply: This is equivalent to saying that in an unprovisioned vessel
everybody has the same number of biscuits whether he has any or not.
--If they say to you: A good price must be secured for those who sell
Reply: Certainly; but good wages must be secured to those who buy it.
--If they say to you: The land owners, who make the law, have raised the
price of food without troubling themselves about wages, because they
know that when food becomes dear, wages naturally rise--
Reply: On this principle, when workingmen come to make the law, do not
blame them if they fix a high rate of wages without troubling themselves
to protect grain, for they know that if wages are raised, articles of
food will naturally rise in price.
--If they say to you: What, then, is to be done?
Reply: Be just to everybody.
--If they say to you: It is essential that a great country should
Reply: The most essential thing is that this great country should have
--If they say to you: It is necessary that a great country should
Reply: It is more necessary that the citizens of this great country
should have cloth.
--If they say to you: Labor is wealth--
Reply: It is false.
And, by way of developing this, add: A bleeding is not health, and the
proof of it is, that it is done to restore health.
--If they say to you: To compel men to work over rocks and get an ounce
of iron from a ton of ore, is to increase their labor, and,
consequently, their wealth--
Reply: To compel men to dig wells, by denying them the use of river
water, is to add to their useless labor, but not their wealth.
--If they say to you: The sun gives his heat and light without requiring
Reply: So much the better for me, since it costs me nothing to see
--And if they reply to you: Industry in general loses what you would
have paid for lights--
Retort: No, for having paid nothing to the sun, I use that which it
saves me in paying for clothes, furniture and candles.
--So, if they say to you: These English rascals have capital which pays
Reply: So much the better for us; they will not make us pay interest.
--If they say to you: These perfidious Englishmen find iron and coal at
the same spot--
Reply: So much the better for us; they will not make us pay anything for
bringing them together.
--If they say to you: The Swiss have rich pastures which cost little--
Reply: The advantage is on our side, for they will ask for a lesser
quantity of our labor to furnish our farmers oxen and our stomachs food.
--If they say to you: The lands in the Crimea are worth nothing, and pay
Reply: The gain is on our side, since we buy grain free from those
--If they say to you: The serfs of Poland work without wages--
Reply: The loss is theirs and the gain is ours, since their labor is
deducted from the price of the grain which their masters sell us.
--Then, if they say to you: Other nations have many advantages over us--
Reply: By exchange, they are forced to let us share in them.
--If they say to you: With liberty we shall be swamped with bread, beef
a la mode, coal, and coats--
Reply: We shall be neither cold nor hungry.
--If they say to you: With what shall we pay?
Reply: Do not be troubled about that. If we are to be inundated, it will
be because we are able to pay. If we cannot pay we will not be
--If they say to you: I would allow free trade, if a stranger, in
bringing us one thing, took away another; but he will carry off our
Reply: Neither specie nor coffee grow in the fields of Beauce or come
out of the manufactories of Elbeuf. For us to pay a foreigner with
specie is like paying him with coffee.
--If they say to you: Eat meat--
Reply: Let it come in.
--If they say to you, like the Presse: When you have not the money to
buy bread with, buy beef--
Reply: This advice is as wise as that of Vautour to his tenant, If a
person has not money to pay his rent with, he ought to have a house of
--If they say to you, like the Presse: The State ought to teach the
people why and how it should eat meat--
Reply: Only let the State allow the meat free entrance, and the most
civilized people in the world are old enough to learn to eat it without
--If they say to you: The State ought to know everything, and foresee
everything, to guide the people, and the people have only to let
themselves be guided--
Reply: Is there a State outside of the people, and a human foresight
outside of humanity? Archimedes might have repeated all the days of his
life, With a lever and a fulcrum I will move the world, but he could
not have moved it, for want of those two things. The fulcrum of the
State is the nation, and nothing is madder than to build so many hopes
on the State; that is to say, to assume a collective science and
foresight, after having established individual folly and
--If they say to you: My God! I ask no favors, but only a duty on grain
and meat, which may compensate for the heavy taxes to which France is
subjected; a mere little duty, equal to what these taxes add to the cost
of my grain--
Reply: A thousand pardons, but I, too, pay taxes. If, then, the
protection which you vote yourself results in burdening for me, your
grain with your proportion of the taxes, your insinuating demand aims at
nothing less than the establishment between us of the following
arrangement, thus worded by yourself: Since the public burdens are
heavy, I, who sell grain, will pay nothing at all; and you, my neighbor,
the buyer, shall pay two parts, to wit, your share and mine. My
neighbor, the grain dealer, you may have power on your side, but not
--If they say to you: It is, however, very hard for me, a tax payer, to
compete in my own market with foreigners who pay none--
Reply: First, This is not your market, but our market. I who live on
grain, and pay for it, must be counted for something.
Secondly. Few foreigners at this time are free from taxes.
Thirdly. If the tax which you vote repays to you, in roads, canals and
safety, more than it costs you, you are not justified in driving away,
at my expense, the competition of foreigners who do not pay the tax but
who do not have the safety, roads and canals. It is the same as saying:
I want a compensating duty, because I have fine clothes, stronger horses
and better plows than the Russian laborer.
Fourthly. If the tax does not repay what it costs, do not vote it.
Fifthly. If, after you have voted a tax, it is your pleasure to escape
its operation, invent a system which will throw it on foreigners. But
the tariff only throws your proportion on me, when I already have enough
of my own.
--If they say to you: Freedom of commerce is necessary among the
Russians that they may exchange their products with advantage (opinion
of M. Thiers, April, 1847)--
Reply: This freedom is necessary everywhere, and for the same reason.
--If they say to you: Each country has its wants; it is according to
that that it must act (M. Thiers)--
Reply: It is according to that that it acts of itself when no one
--If they say to you: Since we have no sheet iron, its admission must be
allowed (M. Thiers)--
Reply: Thank you, kindly.
--If they say to you: Our merchant marine must have freight; owing to
the lack of return cargoes our vessels cannot compete with foreign
Reply: When you want to do everything at home, you can have cargoes
neither going nor coming. It is as absurd to wish for a navy under a
prohibitory system as to wish for carts where all transportation is
--If they say to you: Supposing that protection is unjust, everything is
founded on it; there are moneys invested, and rights acquired, and it
cannot be abandoned without suffering--
Reply: Every injustice profits some one (except, perhaps, restriction,
which in the long run profits no one), and to use as an argument the
disturbance which the cessation of the injustice causes to the person
profiting by it, is to say that an injustice, only because it has
existed for a moment, should be eternal.