Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAP. XIII.: What it is that destroys this Liberty. - Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws
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CHAP. XIII.: What it is that destroys this Liberty. - Charles Louis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, Complete Works, vol. 2 The Spirit of Laws 
The Complete Works of M. de Montesquieu (London: T. Evans, 1777), 4 vols. Vol. 2.
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What it is that destroys this Liberty.
WHEREVER commerce subsists, customs are established. Commerce is the exportation and importation of merchandises, with a view to the advantage of the state: Customs are a certain right over this same exportation and importation, founded also on the advantage of the state. From hence it becomes necessary, that the state should be neuter between its customs and its commerce, that neither of these two interfere with each other; and then the inhabitants enjoy a free commerce.
The farming of the customs destroys commerce by its injustice and vexations, as well as by the excess of the imposts; but, independent of this, it destroys it even more by the difficulties that arise from it, and by the formalities it exacts. In England, where the customs are managed by the king’s officers, business is negotiated with a singular dexterity: one word of writing accomplishes the greatest affairs. The merchant need not lose an infinite deal of time; he has no occasion for a particular commissioner, either to obviate all the difficulties of the farmers, or to submit to them.