The day will come, I hope, when you will be able to convert your war ships into merchant ships and that we will give back our young soldiers to the industry.

Frédéric Bastiat
Complete Works, Volume 1, page 391 (in French)
August 1845

Here is a note to the English Free-Trade League as well as the government and Board of Trade made at the time of a revision of tariffs on wine. Up to then, the tariffs were fixed according to the quantity of imported wine (6 sch. 5 d. per gallon), which favours the consumption of luxury wines and prohibits de facto the consumption of ordinary wines (Frédéric Bastiat shows an example in which the same tariffs corresponds to 20% of the price for the former and 183% of the price for the latter). The British government was then considering to change this tariff into one that would mix a fixed part (1 sch. per gallon) and an ad valorem part (20%). Frédéric Bastiat is asking them to consider a complete change to ad valorem tariffs in order to serve justice (without which the final rate on luxury wines would still have remained well below the final rate of ordinary wines).

On top of all technical details explaining justice or injustice, he also notes a number of other reasons to support his request. His regard towards bringing people closer together thanks to trade in order to reach universal peace remains one of the drivers for which Frédéric Bastiat was a freedom advocate. This is what is reflected in today’s quote, which translates well the mindset in which he found himself when he offered his arguments.

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