Part I.—Of the Unreasonableness of those 
Restraints, even upon the Principles of the 
Commercial System
To lay extraordinary restraints upon the importation 
of goods of almost all kinds, from 
these particular countries with which the balance 
of trade is supposed to be disadvantageous
is the second expedient by which the 
commercial system proposes to increase the 
quantity of gold and silver. Thus, in Great 
Britain, Silesia lawns may be imported for 
home consumption, upon paying certain duties
but French cambrics and lawns are prohibited 
to be imported, except into the port 
of London, there to be warehoused for 
exportation. Higher duties are imposed upon 
the wines of France than upon those of Portugal, 
or indeed of any other country. By 
what is called the impost 1692, a duty of five-and-twenty 
per cent. of the rate or value, was 
laid upon all French goods; while the goods 
of other nations were, the greater part of them, 
subjected to much lighter duties, seldom exceeding 
five per cent. The wine, brandy
salt, and vinegar of France, were indeed excepted
these commodities being subjected to 
other heavy duties, either by other laws, or by 
particular clauses of the same law. In 1696, 
a second duty of twenty-five per cent. the first 
not having been thought a sufficient discouragement
was imposed upon all French goods
except brandy; together with a new duty of 
five-and-twenty pounds upon the ton of French 
wine, and another of fifteen pounds upon the 
ton of French vinegar. French goods have 
never been omitted in any of those general 
subsidies or duties of five per cent. which have 
been imposed upon all, or the greater part, of 
the goods enumerated in the book of rates
If we count the one-third and two-third subsidies 
as making a complete subsidy between 
them, there have been five of these general 
subsidies; so that, before the commencement 
of the present war, seventy-five per cent. may 
be considered as the lowest duty to which the 
greater part of the goods of the growth, produce
or manufacture of France, were liable. 
But upon the greater part of goods, those duties 
are equivalent to a prohibition. The 
French, in their turn, have, I believe, treated 
our goods and manufactures just as hardly; 
though I am not so well acquainted with the 
particular hardships which they have imposed 
upon them. Those mutual restraints have 
put an end to almost all fair commerce between 
the two nations; and smugglers are now the 
principal importers, either of British goods 
into France, or of French goods into Great 
Britain. The principles which I have been 
examining, in the foregoing chapter, took 
their origin from private interest and the spirit 
of monopoly; those which I am going to 
examine in this, from national prejudice and 
animosity. They are, accordingly, as might 
well be expected, still more unreasonable
They are so, even upon the principles of the 
commercial system. 
First, Though it were certain that in the 
case of a free trade between France and England
for example, the balance would be in 
favour of France, it would by no means follow 
that such a trade would be disadvantageous 
to England, or that the general balance 
of its whole trade would thereby be turned 
more against it. If the wines of France are 
better and cheaper than these of Portugal, or 
its linens than those of Germany, it would be 
more advantageous for Great Britain to purchase 
both the wine and the foreign linen 
which it had occasion for of France, than of 
Portugal and Germany. Though the value 
of the annual importations from France would 
thereby be greatly augmented, the value of 
the whole annual importations would be diminished, 
in proportion as the French goods 
of the same quality were cheaper than those of 
the other two countries. This would be the 
case, even upon the supposition that the whole 
French goods imported were to be consumed 
in Great Britain
But, Secondly, A great part of them might 
be re-exported to other countries, where, being 
sold with profit, they might bring back
return, equal in value, perhaps, to the prime 
cost of the whole French goods imported
What has frequently been said of the East 
India trade, might possibly be true of the 
French; that though the greater part of East 
India goods were bought with gold and silver, 
the re-exportation of a part of them to 
other countries brought back more gold and 
silver to that which carried on the trade, than 
the prime cost of the whole amounted to. 
One of the most important branches of the 
Dutch trade at present, consists in the carriage 
of French goods to other European 
countries. Some part even of the French wine 
drank in Great Britain, is clandestinely imported 
from Holland and Zealand. If there 
was either a free trade between France and 
England, or if French goods could be imported 
upon paying only the same duties as those 
of other European nations, to be drawn back 
upon exportation, England might have some 
share of a trade which is found so advantageous 
to Holland
Thirdly, and lastly, There is no certain criterion 
by which we can determine on which 
side what is called the balance between any