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

manufacture iron--

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

manufacture cloth.

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

them nothing--

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

no taxes--

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

his own.

--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

any teacher.

--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

hinders it.

--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.