Imagens das páginas

and foreign commerce have been augmented. And these different results are clearly proved to have been the legitimate effects of these different measures. The answer, therefore, is complete, not only as regards domestic interests, which seem more especially to occupy a domestic position; but also as regards the interests of foreign commerce. While considering this last point, in its place, we have found, that, as a private individual, who, by his industry and frugality prospers and grows rich, usually trades more, and buys more, so a nation, by like habits, and in a like career, trades more and buys more, because it has the means, and can afford it. Wants always multiply with growing wealth; and those wants must be satisfied. We have elsewhere shown, that the United States uniformly grow rich under a protective system, and poor for the want of it; and this, on the principle above recognised, accounts for our having a greater amount of foreign commerce under the former, than under the latter system of public policy.

In no sense whatever, therefore, and in regard to no interests whatever, does a protective operate as a restrictive system, in the United States; but, on the contrary, it contributes effectively, and on an immense scale, to the emancipation of American capital and labor from a foreign restrictive system, which has so long held, and which will for ever hold, them in bondage, without Protection. It neither binds, nor restricts, nor injures any domestic interests; but is a help to all. It is entirely a misnomer, a perversion of terms, to call it a restrictive system, as applied to the United States. We do not pretend to give law to other nations, nor to say, that it does not operate so in other quarters; nor can we consent that foreign economists, British or others, should give laws to us, in this particular. We have set out, in this work, on the fundamental principle, that a system of public economy can not be found, equally applicable, even to any two nations; much less to all; and that it is not a science, composed of the same propositions, everywhere and in all time, as the Free-Trade economists claim for it. We find American capital and labor occupying a very different position from that of the same things in Europe, and that the same treatment applied to both, would not be beneficial to both. A system which is good for Great Britain, may be ruinous to the United States. We have endeavored to show, in another chapter, that Great Britain is the only nation, that is prepared for Free Trade, and the United States the last that can afford it; and the reason why we can not afford it, is because of the high price of

our labor. On a platform of universal Free Trade, the advanced position of Great Britain-far advanced of all other nations-in her skill, machinery, capital, and means of commerce, would make all the world tributary to her; and on the same platform, this distance between her and other nations, in these particulars, instead of diminishing, would be for ever increasing, till, as she is now the great centre of civilization, she would become the focus of the wealth, grandeur, and power of the world. Such a result would be inevitable, on these conditions, from the comparative strength of her position in these particulars. Nothing but a system of Protection can defend us, or any other nation, from her grasping ambition and power. Well may she plead the cause of Free Trade. Foreseeing this state of things, she has endowed her writers, and instructed the professors of her universities, for a century past, as shown in another chapter, to preach Free Trade to the world, that she might reap the benefit.

It will be found, on an examination of Adam Smith's reasoning on "freedom of commerce," or Free Trade, that the premises on which he started in this argument, and which prompted it, were entirely of a different class from those on which the theory of Free Trade now usually rests, and on which has finally been erected the system which is now adopted by those of his school. Adam Smith was right in the ground he originally took; but, like all bold theorists, he jumped to general conclusions from isolated facts. Having first begun to sail his bark in a mill-pond, England, he leaped the dam, followed the stream to the ocean, and was soon lost in the wide sea. It was against the unjust monopolies of certain municipal corporations, known as "the trades" in English law, but entirely unknown in the United States, that Adam Smith began to plead for Free Trade. These corporations were almost without number in Great Britain, counting at one time more than a hundred in the city of London, such as the company of goldsmiths, saddlers, fishmongers, &c., &c., comprehending all the principal trades, in town and country. None could engage in these pursuits, who were not members of the companies; and each of these corporations took care not to fill the trade, so that the market should be beyond their control. The community were forced to buy of them, at their own price. Hence the grievance of these monopolies, and the crusade of Adam Smith against them. He also extended his argument against the monopolies of foreign commerce, in the hands of companies, such as the East India company, the Hudson Bay

company, the African company, &c. In both these lines of argument, his premises justified his conclusion, and he was right.

But neither he, apparently, nor any of his school, have allowed themselves to see the difference between these cases and those made by a general protective system of one nation against others, in the latter of which there is no monopoly of one citizen or subject against others, but where all are permitted, under a common law made for all, to engage in what trade or business they please, and where competition can enter without limits. To say, that Protection is sometimes prohibitory of foreign products, does not make out the case of a monopoly, except such, the undoubted right of which all nations claim, and are constantly in the habit of exercising; and then the monopoly is national, not private. This was not the ground of objection with Adam Smith. He never once made it, nor will it be made by any advocate of Free Trade, understandingly. But the objection was and is, that protection of domestic industry, arts, and labor, against foreign arts and labor, imposed and imposes restrictions on fellow-subjects and fellow-citizens, when in fact, as every one must see, there was and is no such thing, and can not be, so long as there are no corporate privileges to exclude others from engaging in the same pursuits at pleasure. There can not be a monopoly, where the trade, or pursuit, is equally open to all. If a man is excluded for want of capital or skill, or for want of both, this may occur under any system, and is the very reason why one nation may require protection against another of more abundant capital and of superior skill, and why it can not engage in certain pursuits, essential to its welfare, without protection. But both Ricardo and Say have admitted and maintained, that even prohibitory duties can not raise prices, because, where there is no domestic monopoly, domestic competition will reduce prices to their natural level.

We say, therefore, that Adam Smith, beginning right, ended wrong, by leaping to conclusions, which his premises would not justify; and that all his followers have plunged into the same mistake. They have assumed monopoly, where there is none; and restriction where there is none, except as the undoubted right of one nation against another. But they assert a domestic restriction, which can not be found, and a hardship in the raising of prices to consumers, when, in the case of the United States, as we have proved elsewhere, the prices are reduced. It does not belong to

us to prove, that this is the fact in other quarters; though we think, as a general rule, it may be.

It must be evident to those who are competent to consider the case, that restrictions in international commerce, do not of course create restrictions in domestic trade. On the contrary, as shown above, in the case of the United States, the former are absolutely necessary to rescue domestic trade, that is, capital and labor, in all their functions, from foreign restrictions of a very grave and serious character.

What, then, do the advocates of Free Trade, in the United States, ask for? Precisely the same thing which Protectionists demand, to wit, the free and unrestrained use of American capital and labor. The only difference is about the mode of attaining to that end. We have shown here, and in other parts of this work, that the only way is by a protective system. It is a misnomer, therefore, to call it a restrictive system, when there is no such thing in it. The design and tendency of an American protective system, is not to embarrass, but to disembarrass, American capital and labor; to rescue and shield them from foreign oppression; to encourage them; to bring them out; to open the way for their most profitable employment; and to make them ENTIRELY free.



Barter, its Nature -Origin of the Phrase," Precious Metals."-How Gold and Silver came to be used as Money-Gold not used as Money in all Parts of the World.--Relative Proportions of the Precious Metals employed as Money and for other Purposes.-Foun dation of the Value of Gold and Silver, when used as Money-Turgot, Say. M-Culloch, and others, on this Point-The Foundation of the Value of Money lies in the Demand of the Precious Metals for other Uses-It is a Foundation in Nature, not the Result of Convention.-Definition and Functions of Money.

BARTER, or the exchange of one commodity, unrepresented, for another, is the natural, and was the original mode of trade. That is, one man, being in possession of a thing, no matter what, which another wants more than he does; and the other being in possession of a thing, no matter what, which the first wants more than the second does; they agree to exchange, and do exchange, on such terms as may be arranged between them. This is barter. It is true, that this definition includes money, or its material, as a commodity. It is impossible to give a definition of barter, without a comprehension of this, as a possible result. But money, with its present attributes and functions, was not originally in use, and is the result of social improvement, or of the convenience and necessities of society.

In process of time, of which the memory of man and history give no advice, certain metals, commonly called gold and silver, having been discovered, and found to possess excellent and unrivalled qualities for certain uses, and for ornament, became "precious." This may be supposed to be the origin of the name, "precious metals." For certain purposes of use and ornament, other things have been held much more valuable even than gold and silver, and for which ten, twenty, a hundred, and even a thousand to one, in weight, of the "precious metals" have been and are given, as an equivalent. Nevertheless, partly on account of their scarcity, and especially on account of their adaptation to so many useful and ornamental purposes, no other substances, original, or however formed, have ever acquired the position of being held so universally "precious," as gold and silver.

And it is to be observed, that this view does not bring us to their

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »