that the English goods which were sold to 
Holland would be sold so much cheaper, and 
the Dutch goods which were sold to England 
so much dearer, by the difference of the exchange
that the one would draw so much less 
Dutch money to England, and the other so 
much more English money to Holland, as 
this difference amounted to: and that the balance 
of trade, therefore, would necessarily be 
so much more against England, and would 
require a greater balance of gold and silver 
be exported to Holland
Those arguments were partly solid and some 
partly sophistical. They were solid, so far as 
they asserted that the exportation of gold and 
silver in trade might frequently be advantageous 
to the country. They were solid, too, in 
asserting that no prohibition could prevent 
their exportation, when private people found 
any advantage in exporting them. But they 
were sophistical, in supposing, that either to 
preserve or to augment the quantity of those 
metals required more the attention of government, 
than to preserve or to augment the quantity 
of any other useful commodities, which 
the freedom of trade, without any such attention
never fails to supply in the proper quantity
They were sophistical, too, perhaps, in 
asserting that the high price of exchange necessarily 
increased what they called the unfavourable 
balance of trade, or occasioned the 
exportation of a greater quantity of gold and 
silver. That high price, indeed, was extremely 
disadvantageous to the merchants who had 
any money to pay in foreign countries. They 
paid so much dearer for the bills which their 
bankers granted them upon those countries
But though the risk arising from the prohibition 
might occasion some extraordinary expense 
to the bankers, it would not necessarily 
carry any more money out of the country
This expense would generally be all laid out 
in the country, in smuggling the money out of 
it, and could seldom occasion the exportation 
of a single sixpence beyond the precise sum 
drawn for. The high price of exchange, too, 
would naturally dispose the merchants to endeavour 
to make their exports nearly balance 
their imports, in order that they might have 
this high exchange to pay upon as small a 
sum as possible. The high price of exchange
besides, must necessarily have operated as a 
tax, in raising the price of foreign goods, and 
thereby diminishing their consumption. It 
would tend, therefore, not to increase, but to 
diminish, what they called the unfavourable 
balance of trade, and consequently the exportation 
of gold and silver
Such as they were, however, those arguments 
convinced the people to whom they 
were addressed. They were addressed by merchants 
to parliaments and to the councils of 
princes, to nobles, and to country gentlemen; 
by those who were supposed to understand 
trade, to those who were conscious to themselves 
that they knew nothing about the matter
That foreign trade enriched the country
experience demonstrated to the nobles and 
country gentlemen, as well as to the merchants
but how, or in what manner, none of 
them well knew. The merchants knew perfectly 
in what manner it enriched themselves, 
it was their business to know it. But to know 
in what manner it enriched the country, was 
no part of their business. The subject never 
came into their consideration, but when they 
had occasion to apply to their country for 
some change in the laws relating to foreign 
trade. It then became necessary to say something 
about the beneficial effects of foreign 
trade, and the manner in which those effects 
were obstructed by the laws as they then stood
To the judges who were to decide the business, 
it appeared a most satisfactory account 
of the matter, when they were told that foreign 
trade brought money into the country
but that the laws in question hindered it from 
bringing so much as it otherwise would do. 
Those arguments, therefore, produced the 
wished-for effect. The prohibition of exporting 
gold and silver was, in France and England
confined to the coin of those respective 
countries. The exportation of foreign coin 
and of bullion was made free. In Holland, 
and in some other places, this liberty was extended 
even to the coin of the country. The 
attention of government was turned away 
from guarding against the exportation of gold 
and silver, to watch over the balance of trade
as the only cause which could occasion any 
augmentation or diminution of these metals
From one fruitless care, it was turned away 
to another care much more intricate, much 
more embarrassing, and just equally fruitless
The title of Mun's book, England's 
Treasure in Foreign Trade, became a fundamental 
maxim in the political economy, not 
of England only, but of all other commercial 
countries. The inland or home trade, the 
most important of all, the trade in which an 
equal capital affords the greatest revenue, and 
creates the greatest employment to the people 
of the country, was considered as subsidiary 
only to foreign trade. It neither brought 
money into the country, it was said, nor carried 
any out of it. The country, therefore, 
could never become either richer or poorer by 
means of it, except so far as its prosperity or 
decay might indirectly influence the state of 
foreign trade
A country that has no mines of its own, 
must undoubtedly draw its gold and silver from 
foreign countries, in the same manner as one 
that has no vineyards of its own must draw 
its wines. It does not seem necessary, however, 
that the attention of government should 
be more turned towards the one than towards 
the other object. A country that has wherewithal 
to buy wine, will always get the wine 
which it has occasion for; and a country that