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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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5446. MONOPOLY, Tobacco.—[continued].
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5446. MONOPOLY, Tobacco.—[continued].

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 (France) in manufactures, had the
French and American merchants brought 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.—
To Count de Vergennes. Washington ed. i, 386.
(P. 1785)


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