We are falling for the fear that the foreigner, out of sudden philanthropy, would flood us with wheat, sugar, wines, etc. 

Richard Cobden, translated by Frédéric Bastiat
Complete Works, Volume 3, pages 160 to 179 (in French)
Drury Lane, May 5th 1843

The speeches of Francis Augustus Cox and Richard Cobden are translated from this seventh weekly meeting in Drury Lane. I count only six meetings in the Complete Works from Frédéric Bastiat but it is interesting to note that this is the last one occurring at the Drury Lane Theatre because the opponents of the League managed to convince the director of the theatre to stop hosting these meetings.

The speech from the reverend Francis Augustus Cox enquires the question of legitimacy for the religious ministers to join the cause of free-trade. Indeed, they have been criticised about their position on these questions that are not of religious matter. His defence is that the concerns of a religious minister pertain to humanity and that the objective of repealing the Corn Law is indeed to  improve the condition of the people and, by extension, the condition of humanity as a whole. A just cause could therefore not be outside his concerns.

The speech from Richard Cobden pertains in part to monopoly and the fights that have been observed 250 years before against it. Today’s quote is extracted from this speech and refers to the sophism of the balance of trade. After considering the argument of the protectionists demanding that “reciprocity” be implemented through trade agreements before any tariffs cuts, he insists on his position which is to demand the unilateral removal of all restrictions by showing the absurdity there is in worrying about a “deficit” in the trade balance.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *