The Candlemakers’ Petition. by Frédéric Bastiat (). A Petition from the Manufacturers of Candles, Wax-Lights, Lamps, Chandeliers, Reflectors, Snuffers, . 09/19/Claude Frédéric Bastiat. Petition of the Manufacturers of Candles, Waxlights, Lamps, Candlelights, Street Lamps, Snuffers, Extinguishers, and the. I’ve taken the liberty of channeling my “inner Bastiat” to revise and modernize “ The Candlemakers’ Petition” for today’s protectionist climate that.

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It is a quarter, a half, or three-quarters of the value of the product if the foreigner asks of us only three-quarters, one-half, or one-quarter as high a price.

The Candlemakers’ Petition

The same reason should now induce you to act in the same manner. You have only half as good a reason for complying with the demands of other monopolists as you have for granting our petition, which is in complete accord with your established policy; and to reject our demands precisely because they are better founded than anyone else’s would be tantamount to accepting the equation: It amounts to a quarter, a half, or three-quarters of the value candlemaers the product, when the foreigner only asks us for three-fourths, a half, or a quarter of the price we should otherwise pay.

But what shall we say of the specialities of Parisian manufacture? The question, and we pose it formally, is whether what you desire for France is the benefit of consumption free of charge or the alleged advantages of onerous production. When a product — coal, iron, wheat, or textiles — comes to us from abroad, and when we can acquire it for less labour than if we produced it ourselves, the difference is a gratuitous gift that is conferred up on us.

If more tallow be consumed, there will arise a necessity for an increase of cattle and sheep. When an orange comes to us from Portugal, we may conclude that it is furnished in part gratuitously, in part for an onerous consideration; in other words, it comes to us at half price as compared with those of Paris.

Candlemakers’ Petition – RationalWiki

Thousands of vessels would soon be candlwmakers in the whale fisheries, and thence would arise bastait navy capable of sustaining the honor of France, and of responding to the patriotic sentiments of the undersigned peittion, candle merchants, etc. If a Lisbon orange can be sold at half the price of a Parisian one, it is because a natural and gratuitous heat does for the one, what the other only obtains from an artificial and consequently expensive one. We foresee your objections, gentlemen, but we know that you can oppose to us none but such as you have picked up from the effete works of the partisans of Free Trade.


You are entirely occupied with the interest of the producer, whom you are anxious to free from foreign competition.

For the same reason you should do so again. You reject abstract theories, and have little consideration for cheapness and plenty. They include fashion articles such as paste jewelry, purses, and household decorations.

Numerous swarms of bees will, on the mountains, gather perition treasures, now wasting their fragrance on the desert air, like the flowers from which they emanate. But you dislike doctrines, you abhor systems, and as for principles you deny that there are any in social economy. If the manufacturer gains by protection, he will cause the agriculturist to gain also; candlekakers agriculture prospers, it opens a market for manufactured goods. You have also said, the producer and the consumer are one.

Perition same holds true of shipping. Labor and Nature concur in different proportions, according to country and climate, in every article of production.

Thus we, if you confer upon us the monopoly of furnishing light during the day, will as a first consequence buy large quantities of tallow, cqndlemakers, oil, resin, wax, alcohol, silver, iron, bronze, crystal, for the supply of our business; and then we and our numerous contractors having become rich, our consumption will be great, and will become a means of contributing to the comfort and competency of the workers in every branch of national labor.

The portion of Nature is always gratuitous; that of labor alone regulates the price. You are on the right road. Will you say that the light of the sun is a gratuitous gift of Nature, and that to reject such gifts would be to reject wealth itself under the pretext of encouraging the means of acquiring it?

The Candlemakers’ Petition | Mises Institute

But, again, you may say that the producer and consumer are basriat. If you were consistent, you would, while excluding as hurtful to native industry what is half gratuitous, exclude a fortiori and with double zeal that which is altogether gratuitous. In a word, you wish to secure the national market to national labor. Our moors will be covered with resinous trees.

What we pray for is that it may please you to pass a law ordering the shutting up of all windows, skylights, dormer-windows, outside and inside shutters, curtains, blinds, bull’s-eyes; in a word, of all openings, holes, chinks, clefts, and fissures, by or through which the light of the sun has been in use to enter houses, to the prejudice of the meritorious manufactures with which we flatter ourselves that we have accommodated our country — a country that, in gratitude, ought not to abandon us now to a strife so unequal.

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This rival, who is none other than the sun, wages war mercilessly against us, and we suspect that he has been raised up by perfidious Albion good policy nowadaysinasmuch as he displays toward that haughty island a circumspection with which he dispenses in our case. Do you desire for our country the benefit of gratuitous consumption or the pretended advantages of onerous production?

We ask you to be so good as to petiiton a law requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside badtiat outside shutters, curtains, casements, bull’s-eyes, deadlights, and baztiat — in short, all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures through which the light of the sun is wont to enter houses, to the detriment of the fair industries with which, we are proud to say, we have endowed the country, a country that cannot, without betraying ingratitude, abandon us today to so unequal a combat.

We defy you to utter a word against us that will not instantly rebound against yourselves and the principle behind all your policy. You concern yourselves candlemaers with the fate of the producer. If more tallow is consumed, then there must be more oxen and sheep; and, consequently, we shall behold candlemakfrs multiplication of meadows, meat, wool, hides, and above all, manure, which is the basis and foundation of all agricultural wealth.

The part that Nature contributes is always free of charge; it is the part contributed by human labour that constitutes value and is paid for. You have no longer any right to cite the interest of the consumer. But you dislike doctrines, you have a horror of systems, as for principles, you deny that there are any in political economy; therefore we shall call it your practice — your practice without theory and without principle.

The same remark applies to navigation. Now, it is precisely on the basis of its being semigratuitous pardon the word that you maintain it should be barred. The bastit nature executes is always gratuitous; it is the part executed by human labor that constitutes value and is paid for.

Gentlemen, if you will be petitioon to reflect, you cannot fail to be convinced that there is perhaps not one Frenchman, from the opulent stockholder of Anzin down to the poorest vendor of matches, who is not interested in the success of our petition.

Well, be it so; if consumers are interested in the free admission of natural light, the producers of artificial light are equally interested in its prohibition.