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a few self-evident principles and general maxims; under a persuasion, that, if such maxims and principles are just, all deductions and discussions whatever may be tried by their standard.
Some very respectable friends have indulged us with their ideas and opinions. It is with the greatest pleasure we, in this second edition, most gratefully acknowledge the favor; and must add, that, should the public hold this performance in any estimation, no small share belongs to those friends.
Definition of Trade.
1. Trade, or commerce, is the intercourse, as well between nation and nation, as between one man and another; by which we acquire whatsoever may be thought, or understood to be, of use or delight, whether real or ideal.
Gain the End of Trade.
2. The spring or movement of such intercourse is, and ever must be, gain, or the hopes of gain; as neither the public, nor the individual, would intentionally pursue any unprofitable intercourse or commerce.
3. Gain being the principle of trade, the whole mystery of trade must therefore consist in prosecuting methods, whereby gain or advantage may be obtained.
In transactions of trade, it is not to be supposed, that, like gaming, what one party gains the other must lose. The gain to each may be equal. If A has more corn than he can consume, but wants cattle, and B has more cattle, but wants corn, an exchange is gain to each; hereby the common stock of comforts in life is increased.
Freedom and Protection the best Support of Trade.
4. Freedom and protection are most indisputable
VOL. II. 49 GG
principles whereon the success of trade must depend, as clearly as an open, good road tends towards a safe and speedy intercourse; nor is there a greater enemy to trade than constraint.*
5. Governments, which have adopted those plain, simple principles, have been greatly benefited.
6. Were princes, in general, to abolish all sorts of prohibitory laws, trade in general would flourish most in those countries, where the happy situation, the mildness of the climate, the activity and industry of the inhabitants, would furnish means for a speedy and useful intercourse, reciprocally to supply any real or ideal want.
When princes make war by prohibiting commerce, each may hurt himself as much as his enemy. Traders, who by their business are promoting the common good of mankind, as well as farmers and fishermen, who labor for the subsistence of all, should never be interrupted or molested in their business; but enjoy the protection of all in the time of war, as well as in the time of peace.
This policy those we are pleased to call barbarians have, in a great measure, adopted; for the trading subjects of any power, with whom the Emperor of Morocco may be at war, are not liable to capture, when within sight of his land, going or coming, and have otherwise free liberty to trade and reside in his dominions.
As a maritime power, we presume it is not thought right, that Great Britain should grant such freedom, except partially; as in the case of war with France, when tobacco is allowed to be sent thither under the sanction of passports.
* This maxim and the following to the tenth section coincide with the doctrines of Adam Smith, promulgated the year following in the " Wealth of Nations." They are now universally received as general doctrines of political economy. It is universally admitted, at the same time, that they are subject to exceptions. The great difficulty is to determine on the principles and grounds, on which exceptions are to be made; and also to determine on what principles, in what manner, and to what extent, protection is to be extended to trade. — W. Phillips.
7. We are no more to expect this, than that the whole world should be governed by the same laws. In our opinion, however, no laws, which the art of man can devise, will or can hinder, or entirely stop the current of, a profitable trade; any more than the severest laws could prevent the satisfying of hunger, when any chance or opportunity offered to gratify it.
8. Nevertheless, so far as it is possible, according to the different modes and constitutions of each state, freedom and protection should be ever had in view by its respective government.
9. For whatever law is enacted, abridging a freedom or liberty, which the true interest of the state demands, or which does not grant protection where it may be wanted, must clearly be detrimental.
10. We are well aware, that in many cases individuals may endeavour at an intercourse or trade, whereby the public, in one particular point, may seem injured; and yet it may be out of the power of the state to hinder it, without breaking in upon the freedom of trade; so that the Dutchman, who, when Antwerp was besieged, furnished arms, ammunition, and provisions to the Spaniards, and gloried in it, though a chief magistrate of Amsterdam, was not so very wrong in his principles in general, as at first sight might appear. For this Dutchman ran the risk of losing his ammunition, &c., which, if taken, would have been indeed his loss, but a gain to the captors, his countrymen; and, if sold and delivered to the enemy, brought profit to him, and in consequence to the state of which he was a member. This man, to evince how much he held freedom in trade to be
essential, used a very strong figure, when, owning his having furnished the enemy of the state with ammunition, &c., he added, that he would, to prosecute his trade, sail through hell, at the risk of singeing his sails. It is generally a vain imagination, that if we do not furnish an enemy with what he wants, he cannot be supplied elsewhere. Since we are to suffer the mischief he may do with it, why should we not receive the profit that arises on supplying it? Thus might the Dutchman have reasoned when he supplied the enemy with ammunition, &c.
11. We have, as a first principle, laid down what we apprehend every one must allow, that gain, or the hope of gain, is the mover of all intercourse or trade. Herein, as above hinted, must be comprehended all matters of use, in the first instance; and then, matters of ambition, delight, opinion; in one word, luxury.
12. Now things of real use can only be meat, drink, clothing, fuel, and habitation. The several particulars relative to these every one's mind can suggest; to enumerate would almost be endless.
13. As to meat, in a country where corn, fruits, and cattle can be raised and bred, the inhabitants must be wanting in industry to cultivate the lands, or they cannot, in the common course of things, want help from their neighbours for sustenance.
The same as to drink; if for it they will content themselves with the beverage made of their own corn and fruits.
And so of clothing; if they can be satisfied to be clad with the manufactures made from the produce of their own country.
As to fuel and habitation, there are very few countries which do not afford these articles.
14. The real want of all or any of these necessaries must and ever will be an incentive to labor; either by every individual himself in the community, or by those, to whom an equivalent is given for their labor.
15. When ambition, delight, opinion, otherwise luxury, come to be considered, the field is extremely enlarged; and it will require a copious deliberation and ascertainment.
16. For luxury may be carried to such a height, as to be thought by some to be prejudicial to the state; though we, in a general sense, cannot well apprehend it can; inasmuch as what we call riches must be the cause of luxury, taken in all its branches.
17. Now riches, as we conceive them, consist in whatever either a state or an individual have, more than is necessary to procure the above essentials, which are only of real use, viz. meat and drink, and clothes, fire and shelter.
This more or abundance, from whatsoever cause it may proceed, after the bartering for and procuring those essentials, would absolutely, and to all intents, be useless and of no manner of avail, were it not that delight and opinion came in aid, to cause what we will call ideal wants; which wants our passions, put into our make by the almighty hand that formed us, cause us to be almost as solicitous to provide for and to supply, as if such wants were real.
18. We therefore must repeat, that from motives to acquire what may be thought of real or ideal use, spring the intercourse or trade between nations, as well as between individuals; and it seems to be self-evident that the produce of the land, and of industry in general, must supply all our wants, and consequently our trade.
19. Now, though it is hardly to be expected, as above hinted, that princes should allow of a general free trade or intercourse, because they seldom know their