Front Page Titles (by Subject) ESSAY No. CXXVI. - The Principles of Free Trade
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ESSAY No. CXXVI. - 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. CXXVI.
june 13, 1832.
The natural protection against foreign competition enjoyed by the industry of the United States, from geographical position, and the bulky nature of their productions, shewn.
EVERY new discussion in relation to the Tariff policy sheds fresh light upon it. In the supplemental memorial to Congress, drawn up by Messrs. Harper and Dew, there is the following expression—“Perhaps the foreign nations, among whom restrictive systems are said to obtain, do not afford protection so efficient as our manufacturers would receive from the natural situation of the country, and the wants of the government for revenue.” This is perfectly true, and it can be shown, most conclusively, that the natural protection which the industry of the United States enjoys against foreign competition, arising from the nature of their products, and their distance from Europe, which increases the expenses of transportation both ways, is much greater than that enjoyed by any European nation on the Atlantic, in its intercourse with any other; and that, consequently, a much less duty is required to shut out the foreign commodity. We have said “both ways,” because, in estimating the natural protection, we must take into consideration the expenses of transportation, not only of the article imported, but of the article exported to pay for it; and as the United States produce no silver, and not much more gold than what is consumed in gilding and manufactures, and very few fabrics which can be sent to Europe to advantage, it so happens that bulky raw materials constitute the chief products with which the country pays for its foreign imports. As this is a very important view of the subject, we will endeavour to illustrate it more fully.
England and France both produce iron and silk gloves. In the manufacture of iron England has the advantage, whilst in the manufacture of silk gloves France has the advantage. The natural protection which England enjoys against the competition of France, consists in the freight of iron and gloves across the channel, the expense of insurance, commissions, and other small charges of shipment, the whole of which would not exceed, both ways, five per centum. Even if these articles were as bulky as crates of crockery and wines, the expense would be very inconsiderable, and perhaps ten per cent., both ways, would be the whole extent of natural protection that could be enjoyed by the industry of either country.
Now, how stands the case in the United States? The freight of iron from England to the United States, is $2.22 per ton, equal to 5 per centum upon hammered iron, and 10 per centum upon rolled iron. Upon articles of hard ware, which occupy greater space, it is considerably more. Upon coarse woollens, flannels, and baizes, and cotton goods, it is estimated at 10 per centum. And perhaps it would not be far from the truth to say, that the natural protection enjoyed by the American manufacturers, upon the simple operation of importation, is equal, upon an average, to what is enjoyed by any European nation in its interchanges with any other European nation on the Atlantic, both ways.
It remains then to be seen, what extent of natural protection is enjoyed by the American manufacturers, owing to the bulky nature of the products with which alone we can pay for the foreign commodities we import from Europe. Cotton, tobacco, rice, grain, flour, naval stores, lumber, fish, provisions, cattle, horses, mules, &c., &c., constitute the chief articles with which we purchase foreign commodities. All these articles occupy a considerable bulk for a small value, and the expense of sending them to the foreign market constitutes a natural protection to that amount, whatever it may be. Of the total exports of the year ending 30th September, 1830, according to the last Treasury Statement published, there were, of
It is not necessary to examine very minutely the charges attendant upon the exportation of all these commodities. It will be sufficient to look only at a few. The freight alone upon cotton, which constitutes more than half of all our exports, taking it at one cent per pound, and the cost of the article at the port of shipment at ten cents, is 10 per centum—upon rice it is 15 per centum—upon tobacco it is 15 per cent.—upon flour it is 20 per centum, that is $1 upon a barrel costing five dollars—upon some articles it is more; and, taking the average at 15 per centum, it is probable that 10 per centum may be considered as the absolute amount of natural protection enjoyed by the industry of America over that of any European country, in relation to its intercourse with any other, arising from the bulky nature of its productions, and the distance at which we are located from foreign nations.