Front Page Titles (by Subject) ESSAY No. CXXXII. - The Principles of Free Trade
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ESSAY No. CXXXII. - 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. CXXXII.
december 31, 1832.
Closing Address of the Editor, on the discontinuance of the Banner of the Constitution. Retrospective View of the progress made by the cause of Free Trade during the four last years.
THE present number terminates the third volume of the “Banner,” and closes its publication.
In taking leave of the many friends who have honoured us with their support, during the whole, or a part, of the four years which we have devoted to the maintenance of the cause of Free Trade, we cannot refrain from indulging in a few remarks, which custom seems to call for, on the occasion.
At the period when we embarked in the editorial career, the Tariff Act of 1828 had been in operation six months, and the Protective Policy was regarded by the great body of the people North of the Potomac, as the settled policy of the country. A residence of near five years in South America, in the service of the Government, had given us a practical opportunity of judging of the importance of foreign commerce, under a system of Free Trade; and after our return to the United States, it occurred to us, that so noble a cause ought not to be suffered to perish, without at least some efforts to save it. The path of our interest lay in a different direction, but we chose to assist in making the attempt to rally the broken forces which had been dispersed by the mighty power of the “American System,” by co-operating with the few who remained true to principle; and although, by almost ninety-nine out of every hundred men at the North, it was considered as a “forlorn hope,” we were not deterred from the experiment. During the first year, when we published the Free Trade Advocate, the efforts of our party were almost fruitless. One of the great political bodies into which the country was divided, seized upon the American System as the means of riding into power. The popularity of a term which was calculated to make a strong appeal to the patriotic feelings of the people, was too potent for the opposite party to resist, and they accordingly adopted the same theme. The second year began to exhibit some symptoms of returning reason at the North, which induced the Jackson party to begin to speak of “a judicious Tariff.” The third saw great changes; and the fourth wound up with a declaration of adhesion to the principles of Free Trade, on the part of the President and his Secretary of the Treasury, almost as orthodox as held by Adam Smith himself.
That this Journal has been, in the estimation of many of our friends, in some degree instrumental in bringing about this change of sentiment, it would be an affectation of modesty in us to deny. Keeping up a constant and steady fire, for four years, upon the strong holds of the enemy, having, at times through our exchange papers, a hundred presses and upwards, which made occasional or copious extracts from our columns, and furnishing a weekly supply of materials to twelve or fifteen hundred intelligent men, in all parts of the United States, including the Executive Officers at Washington, and a considerable number of Members of Congress, and of State Legislatures, it would, indeed, have been strange if some of our shot had not taken effect. In this result, however, the merit, if any be due, belongs chiefly to the powerful speeches, documents, essays, and other productions, with which our columns have been enriched by others, and which enabled us to embody in a small compass, more information upon Political Economy and Constitutional Law, than is to be found in any work that has ever heretofore been published. Our own immediate efforts were chiefly directed to practical and familiar illustrations of the doctrines we espoused, and to the collecting of facts in reference to the operation of the tariff, to be found no where in books, which would serve, in the hands of statesmen, as materials for more laboured and studied productions; and if in this humble service we have been successful, it is to be wholly ascribed to the undivided attention with which we have pursued the subject.
But if we lay no claim to merit on the score of ability, there is one matter which we have a right to urge, without being liable to the imputation of vanity. In the course we have pursued, our intentions have been sincere and patriotic. We have not been, as far as we can judge of our motives, in the slightest degree influenced by selfish considerations; and if we have differed in our political views from most of our personal friends, we venture to think that they will admit, that neither the hope of political preferment or of pecuniary reward, has induced us to stand up against such a current of prejudice as that which it has been our fate to encounter. Towards those who have differed from us, we entertain not the shadow of ill will. There is not a manufacturer at the North, or a sugar planter at the South, or an iron master in any part of the Union, whom we would not willingly serve, as far as we are able, if we could do it without interfering with the higher obligation we owe to the public; and we have, therefore, the happiness to know, that we lay down our arms in peace with all men. If others have enmity towards us, we can assure them that it is not reciprocated. We profess a creed which teaches unbounded charity and good will to man; and we feel, on this occasion, that we obey its dictates. To our editorial brethren, we are bound to acknowledge their liberal and gentlemanly deportment towards us. We have never, ourselves, descended to personalities, and, with a few obscure exceptions, we have never met with rude attacks from others; a circumstance which has proved conclusively to our mind, that it is possible to place the newspaper press upon a much more dignified ground, than it at present occupies. Every one who has read our paper knows, that we have always handled the American System without gloves; that we have attacked it with small sword and broad sword; that we have assailed it in every honourable manner we could invent, with the weapons of argument, of irony, and of ridicule; and yet, because we treated with courtesy those who upheld it, we have enjoyed almost an entire exemption from the tirades and denunciations with which some of our contemporaries, who attack men, are greeted almost daily.
To that portion of our subscribers who have fulfilled their engagements with us, we tender our most grateful acknowledgments. To those who are yet to render us that favour, we shall, in due time, perform the same pleasing service. From many hundreds of our patrons we have received the kindest letters, filled with expressions of the most friendly feelings; and if we have not replied to them all, it has not been because we have not been deeply impressed with a proper sense of what was due to unsolicted marks of civility, but because we felt reluctant to tax others with the postage, which we could not ourselves well afford to pay. To all, we bid an affectionate farewell; and we trust that Heaven, in its goodness, will carry us safely, without bloodshed or disunion, through the awful crisis at which the country has at last arrived.