I believe that we are requested to do unto others what we would have them do unto ourselves.

Joseph Brotherton, translated by Frédéric Bastiat
Complete Works, Volume 3, pages 118 to 144 (in French)
Drury Lane, April 5th 1843

There are three speeches from Messrs. Joseph Hume, Joseph Brotherton and Thomas Milner Gibson that were translated from this meeting on April 5th. 

The first speech from Joseph Hume allows to peep into the political aspects of the works of the league as this is an open window on the debates of the ones and the others. He notably quotes Edward Everett, United States Minister to the United Kingdom, complaining that American foodstuffs is rotting on the quays of New Orleans when they could be exchanged against British clothes and tools that are needed by his fellow countrymen. He also refers to Robert Peel who has started to drift towards the cause of free-trade, who “having proclaimed the principle, he only needs to apply it in order to guarantee a solid peace and sustainable prosperity”.

The second speech is from Joseph Brotherton and pertains to the principle of justice that is ensconced in free-trade. This is where I extract today’s quote from, referring to the words of Christ according to Saint Matthew and Saint Luke, which will be repeated by Frédéric Bastiat in his chapter Justice and Fraternity. In this speech, the speaker also presents an anecdote illustrating how justice can be corrupted by money, saying: “he wrote the word and asked – what does this mean? one of the ministers exclaimed: Justice. The gentleman placed a guinea on the word and said – what do you see now? and the minister answered – Nothing. because the gold masked his view”.

The third speech from Thomas Milner Gibson focuses on the economic and tax aspects of international trade, protectionism and free-trade. I note in particular his attack “There is another sophism that entered the world under the name Trade Agreements”. Indeed, I find unfortunate that the latter, which took first place in international trade, keep on being considered unavoidable by a majority of the people and virtually all politicians when considering “free-trade”. Thomas Milner Gibson exposes here the concept of “reciprocity”, which is an idea that will be dealt with by Frédéric Bastiat in the first series of the Economic Sophisms under the title Reciprocity.

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