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Many journals have attacked me in your presence and hearing. Perhaps you will not object to read my defence?
I am not suspicious. When a man writes or speaks, I take for granted that he believes what he says.
And yet, after reading and re-reading the journals to which I now reply, I seem unable to discover any other than melancholy tendencies.
Our present business is to inquire which is more favourable to your interests,—liberty or restriction.
I believe that it is liberty,—they believe that it is restriction. It is for each party to prove his own thesis.
Was it necessary to insinuate that we free-traders are the agents of England, of the south of France, of the government?
On this point, you see how easy recrimination would be.
We are the agents of England, they say, because some of us employ the words meeting and free-trader!
And do they not make use of the words drawback and budget?
We, it would seem, imitate Cobden and the English democracy! And do they not parody Lord George Bentinck and the British aristocracy?
We borrow from perfidious Albion the doctrine of liberty!
And do they not borrow from the same source the quibbles of protection?
We follow the lead of Bordeaux and the south!
And do they not avail themselves of the cupidity of Lille and the north?
We favour the secret designs of the ministry, whose object is to divert public attention from their real policy!