Montesquieu

It is not for me to decide the ques­tion of whe­ther, Spain being una­ble to ply the Indian trade by her­self, it would not be bet­ter for her to open it to forei­gners. I will sim­ply say that she might oppose to that trade the fewest obs­ta­cles that her poli­tics can allow. When the mer­chan­dise which the various nations ship to the Indies are costly there, the Indies give much of their mer­chan­dise, which is gold and sil­ver, for a small num­ber of foreign pro­ducts ; the oppo­site occurs when the lat­ter are cheap. Perhaps it would be use­ful if these nations under­cut each other, so that the mer­chan­dise they bear to the Indies would always be inex­pen­sive there. These are prin­ci­ples that need to be exa­mi­ned, yet without sepa­ra­ting them from the other consi­de­ra­tions, the secu­rity of the Indies, the use­ful­ness of a sin­gle cus­toms, the dan­gers of a great chan­geo­ver, and the draw­backs that we fore­see, and which are often less dan­ge­rous than the ones one can­not fore­see.