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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You desire to protect him from foreign competition and reserve the national market for national industry. The size of this gift is proportionate to the extent of this difference.

The Candlemakers’ Petition, by Frederic Bastiat

We foresee your objections, gentlemen, but we know that you can oppose to us none but such as you have picked up from the effete works of the partisans of Free Trade. To the Honourable Members of the Chamber of Deputies.

You have done this to encourage laborto increase the demand for labor. You reject abstract theories, and have little consideration for cheapness and plenty.

But you dislike doctrines, you have a horror of systems, as for principles, you deny that there are any in political economy; therefore we shall call it your practice — your practice without theory and without principle. There is no needy resin-collector on the heights of his sand dunes, no poor miner in the depths of his black pit, who will not receive higher wages and enjoy increased prosperity.

It needs but a little reflection, gentlemen, to be convinced that there is perhaps not one Frenchman, from the wealthy stockholder of the Anzin Company to the humblest ccandlemakers of matches, whose condition would not be improved by the success of our petition. If then the demi-gratuity can determine you to check competition, on what principle can the entire gratuity be alleged as a reason for admitting it?

The Candlemakers’ Petition | Mises Institute

Your chief care is the interest of the producer. We ask you to be so good as to pass a law requiring the closing of all windows, dormers, skylights, inside and outside oetition, curtains, casements, bull’s-eyes, deadlights, and blinds — in short, all openings, holes, chinks, and fissures through which the light of the sun is wont to enter houses, to the detriment of the fair industries with which, we are proud to pegition, we have endowed the country, a country that cannot, without betraying ingratitude, abandon us today to so unequal candlemakets combat.


Our heaths will become covered with resinous trees. It is as complete as it can be when the donor, like the sun in providing us with light, asks nothing from us.

In a word, you wish to secure the national market to national labor.

You no longer have the right to invoke the interests of the consumer. You have yourselves obviated this objection.

Good diplomacy this, for the present time! Thus, there is no branch of agriculture that shall not greatly develop.

You have also said, the producer and the consumer are one. Will you say that the light of the sun is a gratuitous gift, and that to repulse gratuitous gifts, is to repulse riches under pretence of encouraging the means of obtaining them?

For the same reason you ought to do so this time too.

Candlemakers’ Petition

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. You have only half as good a reason for complying with the demands of other monopolists as you have for granting our petition, which is in complete accord with your established policy; and to reject our demands precisely because they are better founded than anyone else’s would be tantamount to accepting the equation: When you were told: 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 former what the latter owes to artificial heating, which necessarily has to prtition paid for in the market.

canvlemakers 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. For the same bastkat you should do so again.


We defy you to utter a word against us that will not candlejakers rebound against yourselves and the principle behind all your policy. 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.

Canddlemakers the bastiay gains by protection, he will cause the agriculturist to gain also; if agriculture prospers, it opens a market for manufactured goods.

If more tallow be consumed, there will arise a necessity for an increase of cattle and sheep. It is as complete as possible when the producer offers, as the sun does with light, the whole in free gift. But if this half, being gratuitous, determines you to exclude competition, how should the whole, being gratuitous, induce you to admit competition?

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! We have our answer ready: Thousands of bastiay 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.

We are subjected to the intolerable competition of a foreign rival, who enjoys, it would candlemaoers, such superior facilities for the production of light, that he is enabled to inundate our national market at so exceedingly reduced a price, that, the moment he makes his appearance, he draws off all custom from us; and thus an important branch of French industry, with all its innumerable ramifications, is suddenly reduced to a state of complete stagnation.