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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The Candlemakers’ Petition, by Frederic Bastiat

Labour and Nature collaborate in varying proportions, depending upon the country and the climate, in the production of a commodity. They include fashion articles such as paste jewelry, purses, and candlemakkers decorations.

If France consumes more oil, we shall see an expansion in the cultivation of the poppy, the olive, and rapeseed. For the same reason you ought to do so this time too. The portion of Nature is always gratuitous; that of labor alone regulates the price. The part nature executes is always gratuitous; it is the part executed by human labor that constitutes value and is paid for.

This rival, which is none other than the sun, is waging war on us so mercilessly we suspect he is being stirred up against us by perfidious Albion excellent diplomacy nowadays! And, first, if you shut up as much as possible all access to natural light, and basitat a demand for artificial light, which of our French manufactures will not be encouraged by it?

If you confer upon us the monopoly of furnishing light during the day, first of all we shall purchase quantities of tallow, canelemakers, oils, resinous substances, wax, alcohol — besides silver, iron, bronze, crystal — to carry on our manufactures; and then we, and those who furnish us with such commodities, having become rich will consume a candlemwkers deal and impart candlemakres to all the other branches of our national industry.

But if you take this position, you strike a mortal blow at your own policy; remember that up to now you have always excluded foreign goods because and in proportion as they approximate gratuitous gifts.

The same remark applies to navigation. Choose, but be consistent. Thus, there is no branch of agriculture that shall not greatly develop. The question, and we ask it formally, is this: When you are told that the consumer is interested in the free importation of iron, coal, corn, textile fabrics — yes, you reply, but the producer is interested in their exclusion.

Numerous swarms of bees will gather upon our mountains the perfumed treasures, which are now cast upon the winds, useless as the blossoms from which they emanate.

You say, Candlemskers can national labor sustain competition with foreign labor, when the former has all the work to do, and the latter only does one-half, the sun supplying the remainder?


You have, in obeying the wishes of other monopolists, acted only from a half-motive ; to grant our petition there is a much fuller inducement.

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It is as complete as possible when the producer offers, as the sun does with light, the whole in free gift.

Cast an eye upon the future and behold the gildings, the bronzes, the magnificent crystal chandeliers, lamps, reflectors and candelabras, which will glitter in the spacious stores, compared with which the splendor of the present day will appear trifling and insignificant. The gift is more or less considerable in proportion as the difference is more or less great.

Thousands of vessels will engage in whaling, and in a short time we shall have a fleet capable of upholding the honour of France and of gratifying the patriotic aspirations of the undersigned petitioners, chandlers, etc.

Bastiar 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? Thousands of vessels would soon be employed in the whale fisheries, and thence would arise a navy capable of sustaining the honor of France, and of responding to the patriotic sentiments of the undersigned petitioners, candle merchants, etc.

You are on the right track. 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. When, therefore, we purchase a Portuguese orange, we may say that we obtain it half gratuitously and half by the right of labor; in other words, at half price compared to those of Paris.

Do you tell us, that if we gain by this protection, France will not gain, because the consumer must pay the price of it? If the manufacturer profits by protection, he will make the farmer prosperous. Make your choice, but be logical; for as long as you exclude, as you do, coal, iron, corn, foreign fabrics, in proportion as their price approximates to zero, what inconsistency it would be to admit the light of the sun, the price of which is already at zero during the entire day!

Make your choice, but be logical; for as long as you ban, as you do, foreign coal, iron, wheat, and textiles, in proportion as their price approaches zero, how inconsistent it would be to admit the light of the sun, whose price is zero all day long!

We are suffering from the ruinous competition of a rival who apparently works under conditions so far superior to our own for the production of light that he is flooding the domestic market with it at an incredibly low price; for the moment he appears, our sales cease, all the consumers turn to him, and a branch of French industry whose ramifications are innumerable is all at once reduced to complete stagnation.


You have done this to encourage laborto increase the demand for labor. The consumer is interested in the free introduction of iron, coal, corn, wheat, cloths, etc.

But, again, you may say that the producer and consumer are identical.

Candlemakers’ Petition

We trust, gentlemen, that you will not regard this our request as a satire, or refuse it without at least first hearing the reasons which we have to urge in its support.

Remember that hitherto you have always repelled foreign products, because they approximate more nearly than home products the character of gratuitous petitlon. Your chief care is the interest of the producer.

We have our answer ready: Only have the goodness candemakers reflect, gentlemen, and you will be convinced that there is perhaps no Frenchman, from the wealthy coalmaster to the humblest vendor of lucifer matches, whose lot will not be candlemskers by the success of this our petition.

You have ceased to have any right to invoke the interest of the consumer; for, whenever his interest is found opposed to that of the producer, you sacrifice the former. If an orange from Lisbon sells for half the price of an orange from Paris, it is because the natural heat of the sun, which is, of course, free of charge, does for the petktion what candlemkaers latter owes to artificial heating, which necessarily has to be paid for in the market. When you were told: We are about to offer you an admirable opportunity of applying your — what shall we call it?

It is as perfect and complete as it can be when the donor like the sun in furnishing us with light asks us for nothing. We dare challenge you to pronounce one word against our petition, which is not equally opposed to your own practice and the principle which guides your policy. But what words can express the magnificence which Paris will then caandlemakers We will say then, your practice; your practice without theory, and without principle. 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, coals, oil, resin, wax, alcohol, silver, iron, bronze, crystal, bastita 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.