Hence it is that we see the slave trade prevail to so great an extent in all the
countries subject to the British system.... The system to which the world is
indebted for these results is called ``free trade''; but there can be no freedom of
trade where there is no freedom of man, for the first of all commodities to be
exchanged is labour, and the freedom of man consists only in the exercise of the
right to determine for himself in what manner his labour shall be employed, and how
he will dispose of its products.... It [the British System] is the most gigantic
system of slavery the world has yet seen, and therefore it is that freedom
gradually disappears from every country over which England is enabled to obtain
control.... In this country protection has always, to some extent, existed; but at
some times it has been efficient, and at others not; and our tendency toward
freedom or slavery has always been in the direct ratio of its efficiency or
inefficiency. In the period from 1824 to 1833, the tendency was steadily in the
former direction, but it was only in the latter part of it that it was made really
efficient. Then mills and furnaces increased in number, and there was a steady
increase in the tendency toward the establishment of local places of exchange; and
then it was that Virginia held her convention at which was last discussed in that
State the question of emancipation.
In 1833, however, protection was abandoned, and a tariff was established by
which it was provided that we should, in a few years, have a system of merely
revenue duties; and from that date the abandonment of the older State proceeded
with a rapidity never before known, and with it grew the domestic slave trade and
the pro-slavery feeling. Then it was that were passed the laws restricting
emancipation and prohibiting education; and then it was that the exports of slaves
from Virginia and the Carolinas was so great that the population of those States
remained almost, if not quite stationary, and the growth of the black population
fell from thirty percent, in the ten previous years, to twenty-four percent....
Slavery now travels North, whereas only twenty years ago freedom was
traveling South. That such is the case is the natural consequence of our
submission, even in part, to the system that looks to compelling the export of raw
products, the exhaustion of the land, the cheapening of labour, and the export of
the labourer. Wherever it is resisted, slaver dies away and freedom grows.
Excerpts from the XV chapter on ``How Can Slavery Be Extinguished?''
The system commonly called free trade tends to produce the former results
(``the cheapening of labour and land everywhere, the perpetuation of slavery, and
the extension of its domain'' --ed.); and where man is enslaved there can be no
real freedom of trade. That one which looks to protection against this
extraordinary system of taxation, tends to enable men to determine for themselves
whether they will make their exchanges abroad or at home; and it is in this power
of choice that consists the freedom of trade and of man. By adopting the 'free
trade,' or British, system we place ourselves side by side with the men who have
ruined Ireland and India, and are now poisoning and enslaving the Chinese people.
By adopting the other, we place ourselves by the side of those whose measures tend
not only to the improvement of their own subjects, but to the emancipation of the
slave everywhere, whether in the British Islands, India, Italy, or America.
It will be said, however, that protection tends to destroy commerce, the
civilizer of mankind. Directly the reverse, however, is the fact. It is the system
now called free trade that tends to the destruction of commerce, as is shown
wherever it obtains. Protection looks only to resisting a great scheme of foreign
taxation that everywhere limits the power of man to combine his efforts with those
of his neighborman for the increase of his production, the improvement of his mind,
and the enlargement of his desires for, and his power to procure, the commodities
produced among the different nations of the world. The commerce of India does not
grow, nor does that of Portugal, or of Turkey; that but that of the protected
countries does increase, as has been shown in the case of Spain, and can now be
shown in that of Germany. In 1834, before the formation of the Zollverein, Germany
took from Great Britain her own produce and manufactures, only 4,429,727 pounds,
whereas in 1852 she took 7,694,069 pounds.
And as regards this country, in which protection has always to some extent
existed, it is the best customer that England ever had, and our demands upon her
grow most steadily and regularly under protection, because the greater our power to
make coarse goods, the greater are those desires which lead to the purchase of iron
ones, and the greater our ability to gratify them.
Whatever tends to increase the power of man to associate with his
neighborman, tends to promote the growth of commerce, and to produce that material,
moral, and intellectual improvement which leads to freedom. To enable men to
exercise that power is the object of protection. The men of this country,
therefore, who desire that all men, black, white and brown, shall at the earliest
period enjoy perfect freedom of thought, speech, action, and trade, will find, on
full consideration, that duty to themselves and to their fellow-men requires that
they should advocate efficient protection, as the true and only mode of abolishing
the domestic trade in slaves, whether black or white.'