Front Page Titles (by Subject) ESSAY No. XXXIII. - The Principles of Free Trade
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ESSAY No. XXXIII. - Condy Raguet, The Principles of Free Trade 
The Principles of Free Trade illustrated in a series of short and familiar Essays originally published in the Banner of the Constitution, 2nd ed. (Philadelphia, 1840).
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ESSAY No. XXXIII.
april 28, 1830.
Bill reducing the duties on tea, coffee, and cocoa. First step towards the overthrow of the high duty system.
IT will have been perceived by the proceedings of Congress, that, on the 21st instant, the bill to reduce the duties on teas, coffee and cocoa, passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 163 to 5. The reduction of the duty on teas, is to take effect after the 31st of December, 1831, and will diminish the rates per pound as follows:
Upon Imperial, Gunpowder, and Gomee, from 50 to 25 cts.
Upon coffee, the reduction is to take effect from the 31st of December, 1830, from 5 cents per pound, (which is nearly one hundred per cent. on its cost in the West Indies and Brazil,) to 2 cents, and after the 31st December, 1831, to 1 cent.
Upon cocoa, the reduction is to take effect from the 31st of December, 1831, from two cents to 1 cent per pound.
This measure may be regarded as the first step towards a repeal of the present burthensome system of taxation by high duties, by which the American people are more heavily oppressed than any other nation on earth. The almost entire unanimity of the vote places beyond a doubt the universal conviction of the members of the House of Representatives, that high duties are a tax upon consumers—a proposition self-evident, one would suppose, but which has been over and over again denied by the advocates of the protecting policy, when asserted in reference to manufactures. By this vote the friends of free trade have gained much. They have gained in principle and they have gained in reputation. They have shown to the nation that they are the true friends of the people; that they are the enemies of taxation, except for the necessary support of government—and as evidence of their sincerity, they have shown their willingness to discuss every question upon its own merits. Had they acted upon the principle which brought the American System into being, they would have opposed the reduction of duties upon teas and coffee, for fear of weakening the strength of their party, and would have voted for the reduction of no duty unless they could have obtained the reduction of the whole. They perceive that, as no one duty had a majority of Congress in its favour, so neither one will have a majority in favour of sustaining it; and they feel perfectly assured, that an edifice, which was put together by such improper, injudicious, and mischievous combinations, would fall to pieces, stone by stone, if the question upon each single duty could be fairly tested and honestly voted on. But although a successful issue to the efforts of the enemies of taxation cannot be looked for at the present session of Congress, in reference to other matters, yet we are perfectly convinced that our prospects are brightening. We are told, that in the Western country the debate in the Senate upon State rights, the circulation of Mr. Cambreleng’s report on commerce, and the extensive discussions which have been going on all over the Union, in reference to the tariff policy, have produced a powerful effect upon the public sentiment; and there is to be seen abundant evidence of a weakened confidence in the durability of the scheme of taxation miscalled the American System. The reduction of the duties on coffee, cocoa, and tea, when they shall begin to operate, cannot fail to give a foretaste of the blessings of free trade, and we are firmly persuaded, that as soon as the people discover, as they assuredly will, that this reduction makes these articles cheaper, and increases the demand for those agricultural productions which we exchange directly for coffee and cocoa, and which we ship to Mexico, South America, the West Indies, and Europe, for the purpose of procuring the dollars with which we pay for our teas, they will cry out for an extension of the blessing, and insist upon being clothed cheap, as well as being fed cheap. Like the bear that has once got a taste of the honey, they will not rest satisfied until they overturn the hive and come into full possession of its treasures.