<pagequality level="3" user="Zoeannl" />style="background: #ececec; text-align: left; padding-left: 0.5em; font-weight: bold;" class="table-rh"pay high wages to the workmen, it is not even because you make exorbitant profits; it is solely because Paris is ill-adapted for that branch of industry; it is because you wish to make in the town what should be made in the country, and in the country what should be made in the town. The people have not more employment—only they have employment of a different kind. They have no higher wages; while they can no longer buy commodities as cheaply as formerly.
THE PEOPLE: Vive, vive LE BON MARCHÉ!
PETER: This man seduces you with fine words. Let us place the question before you in all its simplicity. Is it, or is it not, true, that if we admit firewood, meat, and butter freely or at a lower duty, our markets will be inundated? Believe me there is no other means of preserving ourselves from this new species of invasion but to keep the door shut, and so maintain the prices of commodities by rendering them artificially rare.
SOME VOICES IN THE CROWD : Vive, vive LA RARETÉ!
JACQUES BONHOMME: Let us bring the question to the simple test of truth. You cannot divide among the people of Paris commodities which are not in Paris. If there be less meat, less firewood, less butter, the share falling to each will be smaller. Now there must be less if we prohibit what should be allowed to enter the city. Parisians, abundance for each of you can be secured only by general abundance.
THE PEOPLE: Vive, vive L'ABONDANCE!
PETER: It is in vain that this man tries to persuade you that it is your interest to be subjected to unbridled competition.
THE PEOPLE: A bas, à bas LA CONCURRENCE!
JACQUES BONHOMME: It is in vain that this man tries to make you fall in love with restriction.
THE PEOPLE: A bas, à bas LA RESTRICTION!
PETER: I declare, for my own part, if you deprive the poor cowfeeders and pig-drivers of their daily bread, I can no longer be answerable for public order. Workmen, distrust that man. He is the agent of perfidious Normandy, and derives his inspiration from the provinces. He is a traitor; down with him! (The people preserve silence)
JACQUES BONHOMME: Parisians, what I have told you to-day, I told you twenty years ago, when Peter set himself to work the octroi for his own profit and to your detriment. I am not, then, the agent of Normandy. Hang me up, if you will, but that will not make oppression anything else than oppression. Friends, it is not Jacques or Peter that you must put an end to, but liberty if you fear it, or restriction if it does you harm.
THE PEOPLE: Hang nobody, and set everybody free.