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Quotation of the Day…

… is from David Ames Wells’s “Free Trade,” an entry in the 1899 edition of John J. Lalor’s massive Cyclopaedia of Political Science, Political Economy, and of the Political History of the United States:

The highest right of property is the right to exchange it for other property. That this must be so will at once appear, if it is remembered that, if all exchange of property were forbidden, or by circumstances rendered impossible, each individual would be assimilated in condition to Robinson Crusoe on his uninhabited island; that is, he would be restricted to subsisting on what he individually produced or collected, be deprived of all benefits of co-operation with his fellow-men, and of all advantages of production derived from diversity of skill or diversity of natural circumstances. In the absence of all freedom of exchange between man and man, civilization would obviously be impossible; and it would also seem to stand to reason that to the degree in which we impede or obstruct the freedom of exchange, or, what is the same thing, commercial intercourse, to that same degree we oppose the development of civilization.