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ESSAY No. C. - 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. C.
may 4, 1831.
Remarks on an Address of a member of Congress, from Maryland. Folly exposed, of the doctrine that we pay money for British goods. Imports and exports of gold and silver for five years. Exports to the British West Indies.
THE following is an extract from an Address to his constituents, lately published by one of the Representatives in Congress from the state of Maryland:
“I am a decided advocate for the protection of American industry, and for distributing among our own mechanics, manufacturers, and labourers, those millions of dollars which we have annually bestowed on the artisans and labour of foreign nations, especially England, who refuses to take the wheat, corn, and tobacco, of our agriculturists, in exchange for their manufactures, and require to be paid in our hard-earned dollars.
“The creation of a home-market is the natural result of the protective system. A single fact will illustrate its value. The small manufacturing state of Rhode Island purchases more of our flour than all the British West India islands.”
When we see such absurdities as these put forth at this late day, by a member of Congress, we almost lose our patience, and are half inclined to the opinion that the time for overthrowing the restrictive system, by argument and reason, has passed. If men, who are elected to legislative stations, are not only deficient in the very elementary principles of the science of government, but persevere in their ignorance, although they have within their reach the means of acquiring a correct knowledge of it, and advance such crudities as is contained in the foregoing paragraphs, we know not how those who occupy inferior stations can ever be made to embrace the truth.
The honourable member seems to suppose, that we pay in hard dollars for every thing we import from England. Perhaps the best way to disprove this fallacy will be to show the amount of specie imported and exported during the last five years, from and to all parts of the world, as is done in the following table, being from the latest published Treasury Reports:
This is what the American System philosophers call draining the country of its specie, and which silly doctrine the Maryland member appears to have adopted. The operation of it is this. We export our products to the countries where gold and silver are produced, or where they happen to be the most profitable articles of merchandise which our merchants can procure in exchange for their cargoes. After they are brought home, not being called for by the wants of the currency, the channels of circulation being already filled up with other coin and bank notes, they are exported, and for precisely the same reason that they were imported, because they happen to be, at the time, the most profitable articles of merchandise which are offered in the market. Nobody ever brings coin into the country, or takes it out, if any other article of merchandise offers a better profit. No merchant, in his trade, prefers coin to other commodities, because all other commodities pay a better freight for his vessels, by occupying more space; and any man who supposes that coin is brought home if any thing else will give a profit, knows nothing of commerce.
As to the proportion of the above amount of coin that was exported, during the five years, to Great Britain, we have no documents at hand to show, except for the last two years.
This simple statement, we should think, ought to be sufficient to satisfy any man, who really desires to know the truth, of the utter silliness of any argument which is founded upon the slang—for slang it is, and nothing else—that we export our dollars to pay for foreign goods. If it was not for their exportation, they would not be imported. It is the very fact that coin may be wanted for exportation, that renders it a desirable commodity to bring home—and nothing is clearer, than that if the exportation of coin could be effectually prohibited, by some contrivance never yet discovered, it would not be imported, but would be transported from one place abroad to another place abroad. Instead of importing dollars from Mexico, as we now do, they would be sent direct to Cuba, England, and France, and the other countries to which we now export them.
As to the refusal of Great Britain to take our corn, flour, and tobacco, the assertion is not literally correct. All that can be truly said on the subject is, that her policy exhibits, on the part of her rulers, the same consummate folly that ours does on the part of our rulers, seeing that the British corn-laws and the American System are of the same family, and equally conspiracies against the interests of the working classes, and designed to increase the wealth of the aristocracy. She does admit our corn, flour, and tobacco, but under high duties;—but, if she chooses to compel her people to eat dear bread, and to chew dear tobacco, or smoke dear segars, is that any reason why our Congress should compel the American people to wear dear clothes, eat dear sugar, and build ships, steam-engines, and machinery, with dear iron?
How the honourable member found out that Rhode Island purchases more flour from the grain-growing states, than all the British West India islands, we are not able to ascertain. Every body knows that until lately those islands were closed to our commerce, and we think it would be no easy matter to procure such information as would enable any one to lay down so dogmatical a proposition, without proof. Pray, can the gentleman tell us how much flour Rhode Island imports from the middle states? We doubt very much if she consumes fifty thousand barrels in a year; whereas, the British West Indies consumed, in the year
And the quantity would, by this time, probably have been doubled, had it not been for our wise system of thinking, that no bread at all is better than half a loaf. What they may hereafter consume may perhaps appear from the following extracts:
West India Trade.—Between the 1st and 15th of February, seventeen vessels from the United States arrived at Barbadoes, with cargoes; of this number fourteen were American vessels, and the remainder British. The greater number came to an entry—the others went on.—Bermuda paper.
West India Trade.—The Richmond Enquirer mentions, that, in the Virginia House of delegates, Mr. Maxwell, “the eloquent and ingenious delegate of the borough of Norfolk,” had stated, in a speech on the Pilot bill, this striking fact, that, since the recent opening of the West India trade, thirty vessels had cleared in one month, from Norfolk, for the West Indies—a fact as strongly indicative of the growing prosperity of Norfolk, as it is creditable to the present administration.—N. Y. Evening Post.