upon every foreign commodity, equal to this 
enhancement of the price of the home commodities 
with which it can come into competition
Whether taxes upon the necessaries of life
such as those in Great Britain upon soap
salt, leather, candles, &c. necessarily raise the 
price of labour, and consequently that of all 
other commodities, I shall consider hereafter, 
when I come to treat of taxes. Supposing
however, in the mean time, that they have 
this effect, and they have it undoubtedly, this 
general enhancement of the price of all commodities
in consequence of that labour, is a 
case which differs in the two following respects 
from that of a particular commodity, of which 
the price was enhanced by a particular tax 
immediately imposed upon it. 
First, It might always be known with great 
exactness, how far the price of such a commodity 
could be enhanced by such a tax, but 
how far the general enhancement of the price 
of labour might affect that of every different 
commodity about which labour was employed, 
could never be known with any tolerable exactness
It would be impossible, therefore, to 
proportion, with any tolerable exactness, the 
tax of every foreign, to the enhancement of 
the price of every home commodity
Secondly, Taxes upon the necessaries of life 
have nearly the same effect upon the circumstances 
of the people as a poor soil and a bad 
climate. Provisions are thereby rendered dearer
in the same manner as if it required extraordinary 
labour and expense to raise them. 
As, in the natural scarcity arising from soil 
and climate, it would be absurd to direct the 
people in what manner they ought to employ 
their capitals and industry, so is it likewise 
in the artificial scarcity arising from such 
taxes. To be left to accommodate, as well as 
they could, their industry to their situation
and to find out those employments in which, 
notwithstanding their unfavourable circumstances
they might have some advantage either 
in the home or in the foreign market, is 
what, in both cases, would evidently be most 
for their advantage. To lay a new tax upon 
them, because they are already overburdened 
with taxes, and because they already pay too 
dear for the necessaries of life, to make them 
likewise pay too dear for the greater part of 
other commodities, is certainly a most absurd 
way of making amends
Such taxes, when they have grown up to a 
certain height, are a curse equal to the barrenness 
of the earth, and the inclemency of 
the heavens, and yet it is in the richest and 
most industrious countries that they have been 
most generally imposed. No other countries 
could support so great a disorder. As the 
strongest bodies only can live and enjoy health 
under an unwholesome regimen, so the nations 
only, that in every sort of industry have 
the greatest natural and acquired advantages, 
can subsist and prosper under such taxes
Holland is the country in Europe in which 
they abound most, and which, from peculiar 
circumstances, continues to prosper, not by 
means of them, as has been most absurdly 
supposed, but in spite of them. 
As there are two cases in which it will generally 
be advantageous to lay some burden 
upon foreign for the encouragement of domestic 
industry, so there are two others in 
which it may sometimes be a matter of deliberation
in the one, how far it is proper to 
continue the free importation of certain foreign 
goods; and, in the other, how far, or 
in what manner, it may be proper to restore 
that free importation, after it has been for 
some time interrupted
The case in which it may sometimes be a 
matter of deliberation how far it is proper to 
continue the free importation of certain foreign 
goods, is when some foreign nation restrains, 
by high duties or prohibitions, the importation 
of some of our manufactures into 
their country. Revenge, in this case, naturally 
dictates retaliation, and that we should 
impose the like duties and prohibitions upon 
the importation of some or all of their manufactures 
into ours. Nations, accordingly, 
seldom fail to retaliate in this manner. The 
French have been particularly forward to favour 
their own manufactures, by restraining 
the importation of such foreign goods as could 
come into competition with them. In this 
consisted a great part of the policy of Mr. Colbert
who, notwithstanding his great abilities
seems in this case to have been imposed upon 
by the sophistry of merchants and manufacturers
who are always demanding a monopoly 
against their countrymen. It is at present 
the opinion of the most intelligent men in 
France, that his operations of this kind have 
not been beneficial to his country. That minister
by the tariff of 1667, imposed very high 
duties upon a great number of foreign manufactures
Upon his refusing to moderate them 
in favour of the Dutch, they, in 1671, prohibited 
the importation of the wines, brandies
and manufactures of France. The war of 
1672 seems to have been in part occasioned 
by this commercial dispute. The peace of 
Nimeguen put an end to it in 1678, by moderating 
some of those duties in favour of the 
Dutch, who in consequence took off their prohibition
It was about the same time that 
the French and English began mutually to 
oppress each other's industry, by the like duties 
and prohibitions, of which the French
however, seem to have set the first example. 
The spirit of hostility which has subsisted between 
the two nations ever since, has hitherto 
hindered them from being moderated on either 
side. In 1697, the English prohibited 
the importation of bone lace, the manufacture 
of Flanders. The government of that country
at that time under the domination of Spain,