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Memoir, Correspondence, And Miscellanies, From The

The merchandise of this country


would make the cost of the whole... 46,800,000

But it is sold to the consumers at an average of

three livres the pound....................72,000,000

There remain then for the expenses

of collection............................ 25,200,000 livres.

This is within a sixth as much as the King receives, and so gives nearly one half for collecting the other. It would be presumption in me, a stranger, to suppose my numbers perfectly accurate. I have taken them from the best and most disinterested authorities I could find. Your Excellency will know how far they are wrong; and should you find them considerably wrong, yet I am persuaded you will find, after strictly correcting them, that the collection of this branch of the revenue still absorbs too much.

My apology for making these remarks will, I hope, be found in my wishes to improve the commerce between the two nations, and the interest which my own country will derive from this improvement. The monopoly of the purchase of tobacco in France, discourages both the French and American merchant from bringing it here, and from taking in exchange the manufactures and productions of France. It is contrary to the spirit of trade, and to the dispositions of merchants, to carry a commodity to any market where but one person is allowed to

buy it, and where, of course, that person fixes its price, which the seller must receive, or reexport his commodity, at the loss of his voyage thither. Experience accordingly shows, that they carry it to other markets, and that they take in exchange the merchandise of the place where they deliver it. I am misinformed, if France has not been furnished from a neighboring nation with considerable quantities of tobacco, since the peace, and been obliged to pay there in coin, what might have been paid here in manufactures, had the French and American merchants bought the tobacco originally here. I suppose, too, that the purchases made by the Farmers General, in America, are paid for chiefly in coin, which coin is also remitted directly hence to England, and makes an important part of the balance supposed to be in favor of that nation against this. Should the Farmers General, by themselves, or by the company to whom they may commit the procuring these tobaccos from America, require, for the satisfaction of government on this head, the exportation of a proportion of merchandise in exchange for them, it would be an unpromising expedient. It would only commit the exports, as well as imports, between France and America, to a monopoly, which, being secure against rivals in the sale of the merchandise of France, would not be likely to sell at such moderate prices as might encourage its consumption there, and enable it to bear a competition with similar articles from other countries. I am persuaded this exportation of coin may be prevented, and that of commodities effected, by leaving both operations to the French and American merchants, instead of the Farmers General. They will import a sufficient quantity of tobacco, if they are allowed a perfect freedom in the sale; and they will receive in payment, wines, oils, brandies, and manufactures, instead of coin; forcing each other, by their competition, to bring tobaccos of the best quality; to give to the French manufacturer the full worth of his merchandise; and to sell to the American consumer at the lowest price they can afford; thus encouraging him to use, in preference, the merchandise of this country.

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