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your shoe makers here are the same argument against the importatio of shoes Lynn. grain
MEANING OF FREE TRADE.
lowed up; and the great misfortune would be, that, as the water
they being incompatible with such experiments, and incapable of enduring them without instinctive alarm and sensible effect, as if tending to dissolution.
The objections to the protective principle are the reasons for it, in the United States. One objection is, that it is unjust. One of its best reasons is, that it is the only way to secure the ends of justice in the case. What could be more unjust, than to reduce American labor, in its reward and condition, to that of Europe? It has been averred, indeed, but without evidence, and with the sanction of a mere hypothesis, that it operates unjustly on the consumers of protected articles. It will be shown, in a future chapter, that Protection, in the United States, is no tax; so that the only objection that can be raised, on the score of justice, falls to the ground.
It is also alleged, that a protective system-M. Say stigmatizes it as "the exclusive system”—is unfraternal in one nation toward another. How can justice be unfraternal? It is inequality and dissimilarity of condition and circumstance, which render such measures necessary to prevent injustice. Can fraternity either demand or impose anything but what is right? Suppose it has been found necessary to protect American labor. The foreign millionaire, who has robbed the labor of his own country of two thirds of its fair compensation, and who by that means can afford to undersell American labor in its own market, complains of a want of fraternity, because the American government will not let him do it! Fraternity, in such a case, demands too much.
It is moreover alleged, that so long as nations continue their tariffs of Protection, they put off the grand commercial millennium of the world, universal freedom of commerce. This, manifestly, is in some sort begging the question, as if such a millennium were of course really desirable. So long as universal freedom of commerce would operate unjustly, on account of the relative inequality of like commercial interests in different nations, or on account of dissimilarity in their respective social organizations, there does not appear to be any sound argument in favor of it. A millennium of this kind may be a very fine theme for declamation, when it would be very bad in practice. We could but smile, when, in our hearing, one of these declaimers concluded every part of his debate with an opponent, with the assumed triumphant refutation: "But, sir, what you say is contrary to the THEORY" that is, contrary to the Free-Trade hypothesis! His respect for this assumed dogma,
& Yet all progress of nations is toward free trade, and
MEANING OF FREE TRADE.
was greater than his respect for fact; nor could he give weight to
Although Adam Smith is called the father of Free Trade, it
In proof that Adam Smith never thought of Free Trade as now taught, observe the following facts: The first thing which he assails, in his work, as opposed to the notions of Free Trade which then had existence in his mind, is the incorporation of trades or crafts in England, as practised at that time, and as has been continued, to some extent, down to the present period. Most, if not all trades or crafts, of any considerable importance, were incorporated, such as goldsmiths, saddlers, tailors, cabinet-makers, fishmongers, &c., &c., with certain privileges, such as the right of making their own by-laws, and governing the body in their own way, so that they could limit their numbers, and control the prices of their products and wares. Under this system, great abuses of privilege were imposed upon the public. This, as every one will see, is what we know nothing about in this country, no such thing having ever existed here. It must also be seen, that it involves a principle entirely different from that of duties laid on imports, for the protection of domestic against foreign trades. We have shown,
in a subsequent chapter, that such duties in the United States cheapen the prices of articles protected, instead of raising them, and in a thousand ways benefit all classes of the community, not excepting the consumers of the protected articles. And yet it was against this incorporation of trades, a thing so entirely different, a mere municipal regulation, bad enough certainly, that Adam Smith broke his first lance, in the cause of Free Trade. That this was always in his mind, as a starting point, and as a general basis, appears from the facts, that he begun with it in Book I. Chapter X. Part 2, and is still using it, in Book IV. Chapter III. Part 2, to enforce his Free Trade doctrine, in such terms as the following: "As it is the interest of the freemen of a corporation," such as the goldsmiths of London, "to hinder the rest of the inhabitants from employing any workmen but themselves, so is it the interest of the merchants and manufacturers of every country to secure to themselves the monopoly of the home market," &c. Having started with this original idea, it ever after seemed impossible for him to distinguish between the principle of these municipal corporations, and that of a corporation embracing a whole nation, where the latter chooses to take care of itself in regulating its foreign commerce. The cases are totally different, and yet Adam Smith always reasons as if there were no difference.
Next we find him very justly declaiming against companies incorporated for foreign commerce, with exclusive privileges, such as the Hudson Bay company, the South Sea company, the Royal African company, the East India company, &c., &c. All these, clearly, were monopolies, and well worthy of being denounced; and it must also be seen, that there is no likeness, in fact or principle, between such examples of restriction and the protective policy of a nation. At another time, we find him railing against laws prohibiting the export of domestic coin, though the export of foreign coin and bullion was allowed. Here he lighted on something which was not so easy to manage; and like an excited person, finding it in his path, he resolves to put it out of his way. It is true, the law was a foolish one, and so far as it was intended to prevent the payment of balances against the country, it was unjust. No nation should allow itself to be caught under the necessity of such a law, or of bank suspension. It was because there had been too much Free Trade, that Adam Smith took occasion to make an argument in favor of it.
of 13 la
This whole ch. is as if from Louis
FREE TRADE A LICENSE FOR DEPREDATION.
or other communists.
FREE TRADE A LICENSE FOR DEPREDATION ON THE RIGHTS
This a New Position.-It is based on the Principle of Anarchy-The Essence of Free Trade is a Plea for no Law over an important and wide Domain of Interests.-Definition of this Domain.-Nations are Commonwealths, and may be vulnerable or injurious, in their Relations to each other, the same as Private Individuals in each.-The Defensive of Man's Position, in all Circumstances, requires most Care, and costs Most.-Time only, and protracted Experiment, will determine the relative Merits of Free Trade and a Protective System.-The Point of Vulnerability in the United States, opened by Free Trade. -The great Problem one of Figures and Quantities, that can be worked out.-The Negative Losses occasioned to Individuals and to the Country, by Free Trade, though Real and Serious, not easily ascertained.-More and greater Interests at Stake, on the Ground proposed to be given up to Anarchy by Free Trade. than anywhere else.-The Hen and Chickens and Hawk are like Nations and Free Trade.-How this Anarchy of Free Trade operates.—It is real Anarchy quo ad hoc, opening a vast Field for Depredation.-Free Trade is the Sway of the Will of the Individual, as opposed to that of Society. The Principle of Free Trade everywhere at Work for Depredation-Free Trade not equally Fair for both Sides-Great Britain not for Free Trade.-An important Confession of a Member of Sir Robert Peel's Government.-The Absurdity of making Laws for the less important Sphere, and doing without Law in the most important.— The Charge of Free Trade against Protection, falls back on Itself, in precisely the same Form-Under Free Trade we are forced to buy, in the Form of Manufactures, the same Things which we produce, while our Products perish on Hand-Answer to Objections to the Theory of this Chapter.-Free Trade operates, through a second Party, to injure a third Party, and the Scope of this Influence takes in whole Nations, as Subjects of its Depredations.
It is proposed, in this chapter, to pursue a line of argument, which is not attempted in any other, based upon a principle, which, so far as we know, has never before been applied to this subject. An argument is always more satisfactory, when the principle on which it is based can be distinctly apprehended. That which we have in view to invoke, in this place, is as well known and understood as any other in the social state, to wit, the principle of anarchy. It will be found, upon examination, that Free Trade is based upon this principle, so far as it is proposed to extend its domain, simply because it pleads for no law. If the ground on which it is designed to apply this system were unimportant, and no interests were at stake, the case would be different. But it is evident enough, from the interest which the world has taken in this question, for ages past, and from the increasing interest which it acquires, in the progress of events, that it is not deemed unimportant, and that