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OBJECTIONS TO IT.
I. As to merino wools it professes to give 60 per cent of the 11 cents per pound of duty in the act of 1890, or 6.6 cents per pound. But as it leaves in operation the so-called “skirting clause" of the act of 1890, the pominal duty of 6.6 cents on unwashed merino will only in practice be equal to 3.6 cents on Ohio and similar washed, and less than this on unwashed—about 2,6 cents or less—and from 2 to 2.5 cents on much of Texas and far west State wools, in competition with skirted Australian merino.11 As to third-class wools it is even worse.
11 All this has been demonstrated by abundant evidence(1) In an able address by Governor Rich, of Michigan, it is proved by his own observation and the evidence of the eminent wool importers, Mauger & Avery. (See Senate Doc. No. 17, pp. 46-51, Fifty-fourth Congress, first session; Senate Mis. Doc. No. 35, Fifty-third Congress, second session, p. 321; Senate Mis. Doc. No. 77, Fiftythird Congress, second session, p. 46, February 8, 1894.)
(2) The letter of Mauger & Avery, July 24, 1893, to Hon. S. N. D. North shows that under the McKinley act of 1890 the nominal duty of 11 cents per pound on unwashed merino is in practice on Ohio merino and silmiar wools in competition with skirted Australasian merino only equal to 6 cents on WASHED Ohio, and under the Dingley bill 60 per cent of 6 is only 3.6 cents protection to WASHED Ohio shrinking 55 per cent in scouring.
(3) The eminent wool merchant, Theodore Justice, has given his views upon this subject as follows:
In a letter to William Lawrence, Novem- In the Wool Circular of Justice, Bateman ber 16, 1896, he said:
f: Co., December 1, 1896, it is said : “Even if you are right that the Ding- “Opponents of the Dingley bill claim ley bill is equal only to 24 cents per that it will give only 24 cents per pound pound, which may be right as regards protection on the merino grades of Texas, very dirty [unwashed] wools shrinking Utah, Oregon, Colorado, Idaho, and Mon70 per cent, [yet] 24 cents duty is better tana shrinking not over 70 %, but this is than nothing."
not correct. Based on industrial conditions as they existed under the McKinley law, the Dingley bill would add 5c. per pound to the present free wool price of
these domestic grades.” To this may be said: 1. Nil fuit unquam=tam dispar sibi.
2. The protective benefit on SUCH wools will not be 2 cents to the woolgrower permanently, because it is hereinabove shown that it is at most only 3.6 cents on WASHED Ohio shrinking only 55 per cent in scouring. (See foot note 25, chapter 11, of this Document.)
3. If wool dealers have large stocks of wool on hand, any tariff would be an advantage to them-not to woolgrowers. The enlarged protective benefit given to wool manufacturers would aid in shutting out foreign manufactures, and for a brief time would make an immediate demand for wool, and thus inure to the benefit of wool dealers with large stocks on hand.
A THREATENED DANGER.
The real animus possibly of some—a few-of the Eastern wool dealers in urging the immediate passage of the Dingley bill unamended is disclosed in what Justice, Bateman & Co. have said upon the subject, as follows: (From the Boston Commercial Bulletin of Novem- (From the Wool Circular of December 1, 1896.) ber 28, 1896.)
“Sixth. If the Dingley bill should be “Sixth. If the Dingley bill should be passed as a temporary measure and should passed as a temporary measure and should then be found inadequate as a measure of it be found inadequate as a protection protection, it could be amended by the measure, it can be increased FIVE or ten
substitution of specific for ad valorem per cent annually or otherwise amended rates without disturbing. business, as without disturbing business, as would be would be the case if an entirely new law the case if an entirely new law was made.” was made."
To this the Wool Circular adds:
“While every woolgrower would be delighted to secure the highest duties on foreign wool, they would much prefer to secure now the 6,0 cents per pound proposed
S. Doc. 17-3
VIII. AS TO AD VALOREM DUTIES.
The ad valorem duties of the Dingley bill are wholly unsatisfactory. by the Dingley bill rather than to continue rainbow chasing after impossible amendments that may end in their getting nothing. Some of the Montana woolgrowers' associations are reported to have already publicly declared that they would much rather have a duty of 5c. per pound on wool and keep it than to have the McKinley law restored only to be removed again in a few years by another Congress.”
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
These are significant statements. Their import can not be mistaken. From them the inferences may be fairly drawn:
I. If the woolgrowers will not accept a duty of 5 cents per pound—with the “skirting clause” thrown in-they may get nothing. How far this implied admonition-not to say threat--will operate upon Congress or woolgrowers remains to be
If any woolgrowers have expressed satisfaction with 5 cents, they evidently had not considered the subject fully. No evidence is offered of any such expression.
II. “Disturbing business if an entirely new law was made!" Whose business would be disturbed? Not that of the woolgrowers. Their business is being disturbed for want of protection. Is the admonition intended to be given that wool manufacturers will not permit adequate duties on wool? To their credit, it may be stated, they have not said so. It is believed they will not sanction any such idea.
How many wool dealers will unite in this scheme?
III. “IF the Dingley bill should be found inadequate,” say Justice, Bateman & Co.! IF? Do they mean to be understood that there is any doubt on that subject? Every woolgrower who has fully studied the subject knows it would be ruin to woolgrowers. IV. “IF found inadequate
it can be increased 5 or 10 per cent annually or otherwise amended.' As to this it may be said:
1. It proposes to retain the almost worthless and fraudulent ad valorem duties for the wools which injure our woolgrowers most, while giving manufacturers specific duties. Is this just?
2. The Dingley bill has a pledge that it shall continue in force until “ August 1, 1898.” This, of course, is repealable, but it would be insisted on as a pledge—"not to disturb business.”
3. “After August 1, 1898,” then, perhaps, “if found inadequate,” possibly an increase of “FIVE or ten per cent annually” might be permitted. How much would 5 or 10 per cent increase add to the protective benefit? As to China and other third-class wools, 5 per cent of 32 per cent is 1.62 per cent!
Five per cent of a protective benefit of 24 cents on Texas and similar merino would be so insignificant as to be of no value.
Far in the NEXT CENTURY would be the “good time coming.” — never to come. Do Justice, Bateman & Co. mean to indicate that if woolgrowers insist on ever asking more protection than that afforded by the Dingley bill they are RAINBOW CHASING AFTER IMPOSSIBLE AMENDMENTS »
During the Presidential canvass of 1896 the "BOW OF PROMISE” which spanned the political sky as a sign that the free-wool flood should never again deluge the land was “FOR WOOL THE MOST AMPLE PROTECTION.” The woolgrowers engaged in chasing that rainbow of hope, and now they bear of 5 cents à pound reduced one-half by the skirting clause.” Is this what Justice, Bateman & Co. mean? Will wool dealers aid such a purpose ?
A CHANGE OF OPINION.
Theodore Justice, of the firm of Justice, Bateman & Co., attended the meeting of the National Woolgrowers' Association at Washington December, 1895, and the minutes of the association (Senate Doc. No. 17, Fifty-fourth Congress, first session, p. 88) show the following proceedings:
“Mr. Justice, of Philadelphia, suggested that we present to Congress a request to adopt Schedule K of the law of 1890 as a measure of immediate and temporary relief to the wool industry, and presented a resolution to this effect.
“Addresses were made by Judge Noonan, the first Republican Representative to Congress from Texas; Hon. T. B. Catron, Delegate from New Mexico; Hon. F. P. Bennett, W. W. Burch, and others, presenting their views regarding the action which we should take.
“On motion of Mr. Tweedy, a committee of five, including the president, was In practice an ad valorem duty of 32 per cent will too often not be in fact 20 per cent.lla
II. The Dingley bill contains a distinct pledge that the mere nominal duties provided shall continue in operation until August 1, 1898.” named to consider the memorial to Congress, prepared by Judge Lawrence, and also the suggestion of Mr. Justice for immediate temporary relief.
“The committee was appointed as follows: Judge Lawrence, Judge Calvin Cowgill, Capt. A. E. Sheppard, Theodore Justice, W. W. Burch.
“ The meeting adjourned until 10 o'clock December 5.
“December 5, 10.30 a. m.-Meeting called to order by President Lawrence. A full attendance of all who were present yesterday.
“The committee appointed to consider the memorial to Congress reported, recommending that Schedule K of the law of 1890, omitting the skirting clause and that relating to scoured sorted wool, be presented to Congress for adoption as a measure of immediate relief to the woolgrowers and to provide revenue for the Treasury,
“Mr. Justice opposed the clause making the modification, urging the Schedule K intact, but after a general discussion, which was participated in by many of those present, Mr. Justice withdrew his objections and the report as submitted by the committee was agreed to unanimously.”
It is proper to say Mr. Justice did not assent to the modification. But if the full duties of the McKinley act of 1890 were proper then to be presented to Congress a measure of immediate and temporary relief” why not so now? What reasons exist for a change of program? Certainly the result of the recent election furnishes no ground for asking less duties now than were deemed proper in December, 1895.
Ila AS TO THIRD-CLASS WOOLS.
The ad valorem duty of 32 per cent on third-class wools is practically no protection at all.
(1) On China wool it is only about 2 cents per pound. (See Senate Doc. No. 17, Fifty-fourth Congress, first session, p. 39.)
(2) All these wools displace our American wools for clothing purposes. Their import injures American woolgrowers MORE THAN any AND ALL OTHERS. (See Senate Doc. No. 17, Fifty-fourth Congress, first session, pp. 38, 39, 45.)
(3) The American Wool and Cotton Reporter, June 15, 1893, p. 756, said of these wools:
“WHEN THE MCKINLEY BILL WAS UNDER DISCUSSION, THE EVIDENCE WAS THAT ONLY A SMALL FRACTION OF CARPET WOOLS WAS USED FOR CLOTHING PURPOSES, MAINLY FOR BLANKETS, AND THIS EVIDENCE WAS UNDOUBTEDLY CORRECT. SINCE THEN FASHION AND EXCESSIVE COMPETITION IN THE GOODS MARKET HAVE MADE IT POSSIBLE TO UTILIZE THESE WOOLS IN THE MANUFACTURE OF CLOTHING. A TARIFF THAT COMPREHENDS PROTECTION OF DOMESTIC WOOL SHOULD TAKE COGNIZANCE OF THESE FACTS.”
There is abundant evidence to the same effect in United States Senate Miscellaneous Documents Numbered 35, 37, and 124 of the second session of the Fifty-third Congress, January, 1894. (Doc. 35, pp. 30, 46, 47, 48, 300; Doc. 77, p. 38; Doc. 124, pp. 60-62.) And the Wool and Cotton Reporter of May 14, 1896, said:
CARPET WOO” FALLACIES. “The Boston Herald criticises Judge Lawrence for demanding higher proportional duties than heretofore upon so-called “carpet wools.” In the first place, we desire to explain that this demand for a higher ratio upon so-called carpet wools does not originate with Judge Lawrence, but that he merely voices a sentiment which is everywhere prevalent west of the Mississippi River. And in discussing the subject of duties upon wool, the Boston Herald, having a high reputation for fairness, must admit that Judge Lawrence has reason for condemning laws which discriminate in favor of wools from Bagdad, China, and other semicivilized countries, and against wools from Australia and the Cape of Good Hope. Woolgrowers west of the Mississippi river are not persuaded that there is any proper classifications of wool for different rates of duty to-day. Improvements in machinery have made such classifications a back number, and the theory of definite race distinctions between “carpet” and “clothing” wools never was true.
“The Mexican sheep, which produce wools suitable mainly for carpets, are of the old merino stock, brought over by the Spanish conquerors. The Ohio and Australian flocks, which produce the finest fleeces that fashion now demands, are of the same merino stock. We have on exhibition at the Boston office of the Reporter at
III. As to third-class wools it retains the inadequate, unjust, fraudulent ad valorem system and rates of the act of 1890.
It is understood that an effort will be made to secure the passage of this bill by the Senate, in which it is now pending, at the approaching session of Congress. It gives wool manufacturers a measure of protection; on some goods fully as much as the McKinley act of 1890. It discriminates against woolgrowers by giving them much less benefit. If passed in its present shape there is danger that influences will be brought to bear to maintain its continuance indefinitely.
IX. FOUR THINGS ASKED FOR.
This memorial asks that, if the bill shall be passed by the Senate, it shall be amended so as to provide:
I. That the skirting clause” of the act of 1890 shall not be applicable to the bill.12
the present moment No. 16 two-ply worsted yarns at 42 cents per pound, made for the cloth trade, from white Bagdad wool, which was formerly used exclusively for carpets.”
(4) The Boston Commercial Bulletin of August 15, 1896, says:
China wools are nearly all class three wools, and in this year of rough fabrics their use for other purposes than carpets is large. They of course take the place of fine fabrics made from our own fine wools.” (See footnote 15.)
12 The reasons for this have been pointed out in Senate Document No. 17, Fifty-fourth Congress, first session, pages 46–54, 69, 164-167.
1. Skirted unwashed Australian merino will command 4 cents per pound more in our markets than Ohio washed, because:
(1) It secures the best part of the fleece.
(2) It saves the cost of “sorting,” which in some mills is ONE-TENTH of the pay roll, and
(3) Because of the lighter shrinkage in scouring. Thus 4 cents per pound is in practice taken off of the duty. This is proved by the evidence of Justice, Bateman & Co. (Senate Doc. No. 17, Fifty-fourth Congress, first session, p. 47, as to cost of sorting; and see pp. 69, 165.)
And it is proved by Hon. John T. Rich, governor of Michigan. (Senate Mis. Doc. No. 35, Fifty-third Congress, second session, pp. 322, 325; and see Boston Bulletin of the National Association of Wool Manufacturers, September, 1893; Senate Mis. Doc. No. 149, Fifty-first Congress, first session, May 22, 1890.)
William Á. B. Thornton, an extensive wool dealer of Chicago, says: “Manufacturers as a rule pay 5 cents per pound more for skirted foreign (merino] wools than they will for the American product.” (See his letter in the Chicago Inter Ocean December 1, 1896, in Chapter II of this document.) And this seems to be confirmed by Senate Document No. 17, Fifty-fourth Congress, first session, pages 69, 164-167.
II. As to the FORM of the amendment to the Dingley bill, it has been said:
“The wools of the world are now skirted in order to meet the demands of European manufacturers, and foreign woolgrowers would not change their methods of putting up their wool for the uncertain chances of the American market, which takes only such a small portion. (Letter Theodore Justice, November 25, 1896, to William Lawrence.)
As to this it may be said:
1. Prior to the act of 1867 wools were not skirted-skirting was an invention to evade the effect of the wool tariff of 1867. If the “skirting clause" be omitted from the law, foreign woolgrowers or importers will bring the whole fleeces to our market.
2. But if they will not, then the remedy is TO ADD in the Dingley bill 4 cents per pound additional duty on skirted wool. The form of the law can be made accordingly and so continued until some other device would be adopted by importers to evade it.
III. The demand for relief in any new general tariff legislation from the effect of (1) the "skirting clause,” and (2) the light shrinking of Australasian merino, has been indorsed:
1. By the National Wool Growers' Association-representing a million woolgrowers. (Senate Doc. No. 17, Fifty-fourth Congress, first session, pp. 46–50, 83, and Senate Mis. Doc. No. 35, 77, and 124, of the second session, Fifty-third Congress, passim.)
2. By the Farmers' National Congress in the foregoing memorial.
II. That the pledge therein that the Dingley bill shall continue in operation "until August 1, 1898,” shall be struck out.
III. That the duties on woolen rags, shoddy, mungo, flocks, noils, wastes, and other adulterants shall be made prohibitory.14
3. By the Ohio Wool Growers' Association. (Senate Mis. Doc. No. 35, Fifty-third Congress, second session, pp. 8, 287, 325.)
4. By the Ohio State Grange of Patrons of Husbandry, at Bellefontaine, Ohio, December, 1896.
5. The New Mexico Wool Growers' Association at their meeting July 7, 1895, at East Las Vegas, adopted a resolution in favor of a “flat specific duty" alike on all wools, and
“That such provision be incorporated in a law as will prohibit the advantage taken under former laws by means of (1) SKIRTING, (2) SORTING, (3) admixtures to reduce value, (4) importing scoured as washed wools, and (5) washed wools as unwashed.
That we object to each and every enactment which imposes an ad valorem duty, and insist that every duty shall be specific, and that every duty on shoddy shall be prohibitory.”
(See Boston American Wool and Cotton Reporter, Sept. 3, 1896.)
6. As to Montana woolgrowers, see Senate Doc. No. 17, Fifty-fourth Congress, first session, p. 75.
7. These and other evidence of the demand of the farmers of the United States should decide the policy of Congress rather than the comparatively few Eastern wool manufacturers and wool merchants who oppose the demand.
13 As to this it may be said:
I. This delay will enable wool importers to bring in immense stocks of foreign wools at a mere nominal duty and (1) reap a harvest of profit with an increased duty and (2) POSTPONE UNTIL IN THE NEXT CENTURY any real protective benefits for our wool growers.
II. Of course every lawyer knows that the next Congress can repeal the clause of the Dingley law for its continuance, but the objection to repeal will be made that good faith would thereby be violated. Woolgrowers, however, have some rights entitled to respect. The pledge for continuance is bad faith to them.
14 The propriety of this must be apparent. On 22d August, 1896, the proprietors of “THE CLEVELAND Ohio FARMER” addressed a letter to Collings, Taylor & Co., eminent wool manufacturers of that city, as to the effect of free wool and free rags on the manufacturing and woolgrowing industries, and they made answer as follows:
“In reply to your favor of the 22d instant, asking for a comparison in our business between the times of the McKinley law and the Gorman law, we give you a few figures that will explain themselves.
During the years 1890 to 1893, we bought nearly all of our wool from the Ohio farmers, and paid in the neighborhood of 27 to 28 cents for washed fine. To-day we can buy for 14 to 15 cents, but the trouble is we have no use for it, for since the Wilson-Gorman bill came into effect, we have not been able to pay the existing low prices for wool, but have had to resort-like a great many other inills—to the purchase of foreign rags, of which we have purchased hundreds of tons, and worked them up, displacing just so many pounds of Ohio wool. We had to do it in order to compete with the cheap goods being imported into this country since the WilsonGorman law came into effect. We will also say that previous to the Wilson-Gorman bill, or during the McKinley law, we never purchased a single pound of foreign rags, waste, or wool, and during the McKinley law our mills never stopped one day for being short of work, but since the Wilson-Gorman law came into effect it has been very hard to keep the mills running three days per week, and for the last two months we have not run more than one day in each week, or, in other words, we are practically shut down, with no prospect of work until after the election, and we look for little then, unless our tariff laws are changed.”
On November 25, 1896, in answer to a letter of William Lawrence on this subject, they said:
"Replying to yours of 23d instant will say that the letter you refer to, published in the Ohio Farmer,' is but too correct. It is printed as we gave it to them, and will say that there is nothing we would wish taken from it. We trust the same will be used with telling effect, and prove, as you say, "valuable.' In our opinion the Dingley bill ought to be passed as a preventive to the large imports that will occur between this anıl the time they could CALL AN EXTRA SESSION OF CONGRESS to pass something permanent. We trust that something in this line may be accomplished. "Yours, truly,
“ COLLINS, TAYLOR & Co.” Official statistics show the following:
Year, 1896; pounds wool imports, 230,811,473; value, $32,451,242; imports pounds shoddy, rags, waste, etc., 18,671,109; imports wool, manufactures, value, $53,494,193.