Слике страница

vidious references have been artfully made to the existence of negro slavery among us; and, adverting “to the large proportion of the foreign commerce of the country which belongs to the Southern States—as if we did not hold it by the most sacred and indefeasible of all titles, the blessing of God upon our own industry--the advocates of the tariff policy have sedulously inculcated every sort of prejudice against the commerce of the “ slave States' and the “ cotton States," as if it were really a national nuisance, and the appropriate subject of legislative plunder.The writers of pamphlets, the conductors of newspapers, and even members of Congress on the tariff side of the question, have used these cant phrases of reproach and proscription against the Southern States, until they have brought the people in the tariff States--we mean the great majority of them to regard the tariff question, as being a legislative warfare between different sections of the country. The melancholy fact is not to be disguised, that such is now the actual state of the question. And every one who knows any thing of the laws which govern the human heart, when men are brought to act in associated masses against each other, will at once perceive how absolutely the interest of individuals will be merged and lost in the common feelings and prejudices of the whole body. As in the case of war between two independent nations, the citizen of neither will stop to calculate his own sacrifices, or inquire into the justice of the controversy ; so in this conflict of section against section, those even who are oppressed and sacrificed by the tariff system,-like the deluded victims of ambition--are found rallying round the standard of their oppressors, inscribed as it is with the cabalistic watchwords and motto-s of “free States," and “slave States," “northern farmers,” and “southern planters," "domestic industry," and " English commerce.” By artifices like these, the manufacturing interest, or to speak more correctly, the united capital of the tariff States has obtained, in our opinion, a permanent ascendency over public opinion. The hope of a reaction in those States which we have for several years indulged, is, we are now satisfied, utterly delusive. We are aware that there is an intelligent and patriotic minority in the tariff States, who rise above the miserable and anti-social prejudices enlisted against the Southern States, and who really sympathise with us in our struggle against oppression. But we are also aware that there was precisely such a minority in England, during our Revolutionary struggle, who felt an equal sympathy with our forefathers, but whose patriotic exertions had not the slightest influence in arresting the fatal career of ministerial tyranny. We are also aware that some of the provisions of the last tariff law, are not acceptable to the tariff party, as they are notoriously in favour of“ a close monopoly" as to every thing they sell, and a free trade in every thing they buy. We think it, therefore, not improbable that the tariff of the present year may be modified by the majority of Congress, but we have not the slightest hope that the system will ever be abandoned, or our violated rights restored to us, by that majority, until the Southern States, in their highest sovereign capacity, shall take their stand upon the great principles of constitutional liberty, and proclaim their constitutional privileges and unalienable rights in a language which will be heard with deference even by our oppressors.

We now propose, therefore, to present some views of this painful and distressing subject, calculated to shew its connexion with the fundamental canons of liberty, as they have been consecrated by the blood of our patriotic ancestors in their struggle to throw off the chains of colonial vassalage, and subsequently recorded in that great charter of written wisdom, the Constitution of the United States.

We have no attachment to artificial and technical refinements in construing the Constitution, either for the purpose of enlarging or restricting the powers of the General Government. The object should be, in every instance, not so much to give it either a strict construction on the one hand, or a liberal construction on the other, as to give it the true construction according to its obvious spirit and intention. To illustrate our idea ; though the tariff of the present year might appear to be constitutional, if brought to the test of a “strict construction,” being upon the face of it, an act to “ lay and collect duties and imposts” in literal conformity with the express grant of the Constitution; yet, when we look to the acknowledged design and obvious effect of the measure, it seems utterly impossible to resist the conclusion that it is a gross, oppressive, and alarming violation of the spirit of that instrument. The blindness of political infatuation, itself, must perceive that the power to “lay and collect duties and imposts” was expressly vested in Congress, for the sole and exclusive purpose of raising revenue. It is true that Congress is clothed with another power—that of "regulating commerce with foreign nations”-in the legitimate exercise of which, impost duties


be laid which are not intended for the purposes of revenue.

But this power of regulating commerce was evidently conferred upon Congress, for the purpose of securing our international rights against those encroachments of foreign powers, which might impose upon our government the duty of resisting them. To apply the power of regulating commerce, to the regulation of all the branches of domestic industry, and the distribution of

private property, is as palpable a fraud upon the Constitution and as clear a perversion of its spirit and intention, as it is to lay imposts for the purpose of rendering one part of the community tributary to another. The tariff of 1828, stripped of those flimsy disguises which can scarcely impose upon the blindest credulity—is a law intended and calculated, not to suspend, but to destroy permanently a lawful and profitable commerce belonging to one portion of the Union, for the purpose of enriching a few favoured monopolists in another. According to the eternal principles of justice, this cannot be one of the legitimate ends of government. We are aware that certain national objects are held out by the advocates of this policy, as motives for adopting it. But the slightest examination will show that they are mere empty and delusive pretexts.

It is said, for example, that it will render us more independent of foreign nations,-an argument well calculated to impose upon the unreflecting, and which has not been without its effect. Waving, for the present, the obvious reflection, that even if it did tend to render us more independent, it is not a lawful mode of effecting the object, we beg leave to inquire in what way it will render us more independent of any foreign nation? Is there any man in this enlightened age who really believes that the commercial intercourse between nations creates a state of dependence, incompatible either with the safety, the honour, or the peace of any of the parties? Commerce is, in its very nature, reciprocal. Will it be said that we are dependent on GreatBritain, because we purchase her manufactures ? We reply that Great Britain is even more dependent upon us, because she receives in exchange for her manufactures, a raw material indispensable to the prosperity of the Empire. The dependence created by our foreign commerce, then, is, to say the most, a mutual dependence. Other nations will suffer, at least, as much by a war with us, interrupting commerce, as we will by a war with them It may be truly said that this mutual dependence, created among nations by foreign commerce, is one of its highest recommendations. It is a mutual bond, with heavy penalties, to keep the peace. It is a golden chain which binds them together in harmony.

All our armies and navies united, have not half as much efficacy in preserving our rights from British aggression as this very dependence. As long as it continues, Great-Britain will have the strongest possible motive to avoid a war with this country,-a war which must necessarily derange the whole system of her industry. It is commercial rivalship, not commercial intercourse, that produces war between nations. Let GreatBritain be deprived of our market for her manufactures, and compelled by our unwise restrictions to obtain raw cotton from other countries; and let our whole scheme of national economy be so changed, that our exports shall consist of manufactures that will come in competition with the British in foreign markets, and we never shall be at a loss for causes of war with GreatBritain. If, as the advocates of this system contend, our capacity for war shall be increased, it is very certain that there will be a corresponding increase in the occasions for exerting it.

It has also been contended-and the argument is entitled to consideration, when not pushed beyond certain limits—that the tariff policy is calculated to prepare the country for war by providing internal supplies of articles, that would be needed in such an emergency. Whatever force there may have been in this argument formerly, the time is gone by when it can have the slightest application either to the existing circumstances of the country, or to the recent tariff. Our manufactures have long since gone beyond the point of perfection, necessary to insure the country a supply of every necessary article in the event of a war. Of cotton, woollen and iron manufactures, we now make more than six-sevenths of our national consumption, and in six months from the declaration of a war, we could have abundant supplies of food, clothing and arms, for one hundred thousand soldiers. There is not, in fact, a nation in the world so independent, in this respect, as the United States. Indeed, this is so obviously true, that in all the discussions of the tariff during the last two sessions of Congress, the providing of supplies for the exigencies of war, was never once suggested, that we recollect, as a motive for adopting the measure. We are confident that it did not enter even into the consideration of a single member who voted for it.

There is one other argument frequently used for the purpose of giving to the tariff system the semblance of a national measure, which we here notice, not because it is really worthy of reply or exposure, but on account of its consummate and characteristic absurdity. It is said that in purchasing foreign manufactures, we encourage foreign instead of home industry, and laboured calculations are made to shew to how great an extent we are tributary to foreign powers. There is not a school-boy that could be imposed upon by such a miserable sophism. Any one capable of putting two simple ideas together, must perceive that it necessarily results from the reciprocity of commerce, that foreign nations encourage our domestic industry precisely to the extent that we encourage theirs; unless, indeed, it be made out, as the advocates of the tariff seem habitually to take for granted,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

that the culture of cotton, rice and tobacco, is not domestic industry, and that the Southern States are not members of the Union, but provincial dependencies.

Having now divested the tariff of all its claims to be regarded as conducive to any one of the constitutional ends for which the Federal Government was created, by tearing off the colourable pretexts artfully thrown around it by the priests of this great national imposture, we propose next to examine its bearing upon the Southern and staple growing States, both in reference to the unequal and oppressive burthen it imposes, and the tyranny of the principle in its imposition. And we venture to promise, in advance, that we shall satisfactorily shew that is one of the most unqualified systems of oppression ever imposed under the forms of a free government, or tolerated by an intelligent, we will not say, a free people.

The exports of domestic productions from the whole Union, amounted in 1827, to the sum of fifty-eight millions of dollars, stated in round numbers. Of this sum, twenty-nine millions of dollars consisted of cotton alone, and thirty-eight millions of dollars of cotton, tobacco and rice, to say nothing of grain, flour, lumber and other productions of the staple growing States. It thus appears that one-half of the entire amount of the national exports, consists of cotton, two-thirds of cotton, tobacco and rice, and, as we may reasonably estimate, three-fourths of the various productions of the staple growing States. These statements, taken from the official documents of the Treasury, shew at the same time, the immense magnitude of the stake which the Southern States have in the foreign commerce of the country, and the unequa proportion they sustain, of the burthens and prohibitions to which it is subjected. It is not to be doubted, that a system of revenue, derived exclusively from impost duties, is exceedingly unequal in its operation, even in its most mitigated form ; as it throws the whole burden of supporting the government upon those who are engaged in foreign commerce, and those who supply the domestic staples of exportation by which that commerce is sustained. This, which would be true, if we had no domestic manufactories of such articles as we import, becomes still more emphatically so, when there grow up large manufactories of these articles, holding competition with the foreign. For it is too plain to be disputed, that a system of revenue imposition, exclusively confined to imposts, is not only no tax at all to the manufacturers of the rival articles of domestic industry, but is actually an indirect bounty to them, precisely to the VOL. II.--No. 4.


[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ПретходнаНастави »