prohibited, in return, the importation of English 
woollens. In 1700, the prohibition of 
importing bone lace into England was taken 
off, upon condition that the importation of 
English woollens into Flanders should be put 
on the same footing as before. 
There may be good policy in retaliations of 
this kind, when there is a probability that they 
will procure the repeal of the high duties or 
prohibitions complained of. The recovery of 
a great foreign market will generally more 
than compensate the transitory inconveniency 
of paying dearer during a short time for some 
sorts of goods. To judge whether such retaliations 
are likely to produce such an effect
does not, perhaps, belong so much to the 
science of a legislator, whose deliberations 
ought to be governed by general principles, 
which are always the same, as to the skill of 
that insidious and crafty animal vulgarly called 
a statesman or politician, whose councils 
are directed by the momentary fluctuations of 
affairs. When there is no probability that any 
such repeal can be procured, it seems a bad 
method of compensating the injury done to 
certain classes of our people, to do another injury 
ourselves, not only to those classes, but 
to almost all the other classes of them. When 
our neighbours prohibit some manufacture of 
ours, we generally prohibit, not only the same, 
for that alone would seldom affect them considerably
but some other manufacture of 
theirs. This may, no doubt, give encouragement 
to some particular class of workmen 
among ourselves, and, by excluding some of 
their rivals, may enable them to raise their 
price in the home market. Those workmen 
however, who suffered by our neighbours prohibition
will not be benefited by ours. On 
the contrary, they, and almost all the other 
classes of our citizens, will thereby be obliged 
to pay dearer than before for certain goods
Every such law, therefore, imposes a real tax 
upon the whole country, not in favour of that 
particular class of workmen who were injured 
by our neighbours prohibitions, but of some 
other class
The case in which it may sometimes be a 
matter of deliberation, how far, or in what 
manner, it is proper to restore the free importation 
of foreign goods, after it has been for 
some time interrupted, is when particular manufactures, 
by means of high duties or prohibitions 
upon all foreign goods which can come 
into competition with them, have been so far 
extended as to employ a great multitude of 
hands. Humanity may in this case require 
that the freedom of trade should be restored 
only by slow gradations, and with a good deal 
of reserve and circumspection. Were those 
high duties and prohibitions taken away all at 
once, cheaper foreign goods of the same kind 
might be poured so fast into the home market
as to deprive all at once many thousands of 
our people of their ordinary employment and 
means of subsistence. The disorder which 
this would occasion might no doubt be very 
considerable. It would in all probability
however, be much less than is commonly imagined, 
for the two following reasons. 
First, All those manufactures of which any 
part is commonly exported to other European 
countries without a bounty, could be very little 
affected by the freest importation of foreign 
goods. Such manufactures must be sold as 
cheap abroad as any other foreign goods of the 
same quality and kind, and consequently must 
be sold cheaper at home. They would still, 
therefore, keep possession of the home market; 
and though a capricious man of fashion 
might sometimes prefer foreign wares, merely 
because they were foreign, to cheaper and better 
goods of the same kind that were made at 
home, this folly could, from the nature of 
things, extend to so few, that it could make no 
sensible impression upon the general employment 
of the people. But a great part of all 
the different branches of our woollen manufacture
of our tanned leather, and of our 
hardware, are annually exported to other European 
countries without any bounty, and 
these are the manufactures which employ the 
greatest number of hands. The silk, perhaps, 
is the manufacture which would suffer the 
most by this freedom of trade, and after it the 
linen, though the latter much less than the 
Secondly, Though a great number of people 
should, by thus restoring the freedom of trade
be thrown all at once out of their ordinary 
employment and common method of subsistence
it would by no means follow that they 
would thereby be deprived either of employment 
or subsistence. By the reduction of the 
army and navy at the end of the late war, 
more than 100,000 soldiers and seamen, a 
number equal to what is employed in the 
greatest manufactures, were all at once thrown 
out of their ordinary employment: but though 
they no doubt suffered some inconveniency, 
they were not thereby deprived of all employment 
and subsistence. The greater part of 
the seamen, it is probable, gradually betook 
themselves to the merchant service as they 
could find occasion, and in the mean time both 
they and the soldiers were absorbed in the 
great mass of the people, and employed in a 
great variety of occupations. Not only no 
great convulsion, but no sensible disorder, arose 
from so great a change in the situation of 
more than 100,000 men, all accustomed to 
the use of arms, and many of them to rapine 
and plunder. The number of vagrants was 
scarce anywhere sensibly increased by it; even 
the wages of labour were not reduced by it in 
any occupation, so far as I have been able to 
learn, except in that of seamen in the merchant 
service. But if we compare together the habits 
of a soldier and of any sort of manufacturer, 
we shall find that those of the latter do