Слике страница
PDF
ePub

kcener gaze upon his intended prey, than that, the tariff, that there will be a reduction of the with which the British manufacturer and mer- revenue to the extent of the most extravagant chant watches the foreign market, and the calculation which has been made, that is to say, course even of our elections as well as our to the extent of five millions. That sum delegislation. The passage of this bill has been ducted, we shall still have remaining a revenue expected ; and all our information is that the of about fifteen millions. The treasury estiimportations, during this spring, have been inates of the current services of the years 1822, immense. But, further, the measure of our 1823, and 1824, exceed, each year, nine milimportations is that of our exportations. If I lions. The lapse of revolutionary pensions, and am right in supposing that, in future, the judicious retrenchments which might be made, amount of these, in the old or new forms of the without detriment to any of the essential estabproduce of our labor, will not be diminished, lishments of the country, would probably reduce but probably increased, then the amount of our them below nine millions. Let us assume that importations, and consequently of our revenue, sum, to which add about five millions and a will not be reduced, but may be extended. If half for the interest of the public debt, and the these ideas be correct, there will be no inability wants of government would require á revenue on the part of government to extinguish the of fourteen and a half millions, leaving a surplus public debt. The payment of that debt, and of revenue of half a million beyond the public the consequent liberation of the public resources expenditure. Thus, by & postponement of the from the charge of it, is extremely desirable. payment of the principal of the public debt, in No one is more anxious than I am to see that which the public creditors would gladly acquiimportant object accomplished. But I entirely esce, and confiding, for the means of redeeming concur with the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. it, in the necessary increase of our revenue Barbour) in thinking that no material sacrifice from the natural augmentation of our populaof any of the great interests of the nation ought tion and consumption, we may safely adopt the to be made to effectuate it. Such is the elastic proposed measure, even if it should be attended and accumulating nature of our public resources, (which is confidertly denied) with the supposed from the silent augmentation of our population, diminution of revenue. We shall not, then, that if, in any given state of the public revenue, have occasion to vary the existing system of we throw ourselves upon a couch and go to taxation; we shall be under no necessity to sleep, we may, after a short time, awake with resort either to direct taxes or to an excise. an ability abundantly increased to redeem any But, suppose the alternative were really forced reasonable amount of public debt with which upon us of continuing the foreign system, with we may happen to be burdened. The public its inevitable impoverishment of the country, debt of the United States, though nominally but with the advantage of the present mode of larger now than it was in the year 1791, bears collecting the taxes, or of adopting the American really no sort of discouraging comparison to its system, with its increase of the national wealth, amount at that time, whatever standard we but with the disadvantage of an excise, could may choose to adopt to institute the comparison. any one hesitate between them? Customs and It was, in 1791, about seventy-five millions of an excise agree in the essential particulars, that dollars. It is now about ninety. Then we had they are both taxes upon consumption, and a population of about four millions. Now we both are voluntary. They differ only in the have upward of ten millions. Then we had a mode of collection. The office for the collection revenue short of five millions of dollars. Now of one is located on the frontier, and that for our revenue exceeds twenty. If we select the other within the interior. I believe it was population as the standard, our present popula- Mr. Jefferson, who, in reply to the boast of a tion is one hundred and fifty per centum greater citizen of New York of the amount of the than it was in 1791; if revenue, that is four public revenue paid by that city, asked who times more now than at the former period; would pay it, if the collector's office were rewhile the public debt has increased only in a moved to Paulus Hook, on the New Jersey ratio of twenty per centum. A public debt of shore National wealth is the source of all three hundred millions of dollars, at the present taxation. And, my word for it, the people are day, considering our actual ability, compounded too intelligent to be deceived by mere names, both of the increase of population and of reve- and not to give a decided preference to that nue, would not be more onerous now than the system which is based upon their wealth and debt of seventy-five millions of dollars was, at prosperity, rather than to that which is founded the epoch of 1791, in reference to the same upon their impoverishment and ruin. circumstances. If I am right in supposing that, Sixth. But, according to the opponents of under the operation of the proposed measure, the domestic policy, the proposed system will there will not be any diminution, but a probable force capital and labor into new and reluctant increase of the public revenue, there will be no employments; we are not prepared, in consedifficulty in defraying the current expenses of quence of the high price of wages, for the sucgovernment, and paying the principal as well cessful establishment of manufactures, and we as the interest of the public debt, as it becomes must fail in the experiment. We have seen due. Let us for a moment, however, indulge that the existing occupations of our society, the improbable supposition of the opponents of those of agriculture, commerce, navigation, and the learned professions, are overflowing with in enumerating the causes which have brought competitors, and that the want of employment in England their manufactures to such a state is severely felt. Now what does this bill pro- of perfection, and which now enable them, in pose? To open a new and extensive field of the opinion of the writer, to defy all competibusiness, in which all that choose may enter. tion, does not specify, as one of them, low There is no compulsion upon any one to engage wages. It assigns three: first, capital; secondin it. An option only is given to industry, to ly, extent and costliness of machinery; and, continue in the present unprofitable pursuits, or thirdly, steady and persevering industry. Notto embark in a new and promising one. The withstanding the concurrence of so many favoreffect will be, to lessen the competition in the able causes, in our country, for the introduction old branches of business, and to multiply our of the arts, we are earnestly dissuaded from resources for increasing our comforts, and aug- making the experiment, and our ultimate failure menting the national wealth. The alleged fact is confidently predicted. Why should we fail ? of the high price of wages is not admitted. The Nations, like men, fail in nothing which they truth is, that no class of society suffers more, boldly attempt, when sustained by virtuous in the present stagnation of business, than the purpose and firm resolution. I am not willing laboring class. That is a necessary effect of the to admit this depreciation of American skill depression of agriculture, the principal business and enterprise. I am not willing to strike beof the community. The wages of able-bodied fore an effort is made. All our past history men vary from five to eight dollars per month, exhorts us to proceed, and inspires us with and such has been the want of employment, in animating hopes of success. Past predictions some parts of the Union, that instances have of our incapacity have failed, and present prenot been unfrequent of men working merely dictions will not be realized. At the comfor the means of present subsistence. If the mencement of this government, we were told wages for labor here and in England are com- that the attempt would be idle to construct a pared, they will be found not to be essentially marine adequate to the commerce of the coundifferent. I agree with the honorable gentle- try, or even to the business of its coasting trade. man from Virginia that high wages are a proof The founders of our government did not listen of national prosperity; we differ only in the to these discouraging counsels; and, behold the means by which that desirable end shall be fruits of their just comprehension of our reattained. But, if the fact were true, that the sources! Our restrictive policy was denounced, wages of labor are high, I deny the correctness and it was foretold that it would utterly disapof the argument founded upon it. The argu- point all our expectations. But our restrictive ment assumes that natural labor is the principal policy bas been eminently successful; and the element in the business of manufacture. That share which our navigation now enjoys in the was the ancient theory. But the valuable in- trade with France, and with the British West ventions and vast improvements in machinery, India Islands, attests its victory. What were which have been made within a few past years, not the disheartening predictions of the oppohave produced a new era in the arts. The ef- nents of the late war? Defeat, discomfort and fect of this change, in the powers of production, disgrace, were to be the certain, but not the may be estimated, from what I have already worst effect of it. Here, again, did prophecy stated in relation to England, and to the tri- prove false; and the energies of our country, umphs of European artificial labor over the and the valor and the patriotism of our people, natural labor of Asia. In considering the fit-carried us gloriously through the war.

We ness of a nation for the establishment of manu- are now, and ever will be, essentially an agrifactures, we must no longer limit our views to cultural people. Without á material change in the state of its population, and the price of the fixed habits of the country, the friends of wages. All circumstances must be regarded, this measure desire to draw to it, as a powerful of which that is, perhaps, the least important. auxiliary to its industry, the manufacturing arts. Capital, ingenuity in the construction, and The difference between a nation with and withadroitness in the use of machinery, and the out the arts, may be conceived by the difference possession of the raw materials, are those which between a keel-boat and a steamboat, combating deserve the greatest consideration. All these the rapid torrent of the Mississippi. How slow circumstances (except that of capital, of which does the former ascend, hugging the sinuosities there is no deficiency) exist in our country in of the shore, pushed on by her hardy and exan eminent degree, and more than counter- posed crew, now throwing themselves in vigorbalance the disadvantage, if it really existed, of ous concert on their oars, and then seizing the the lower wages of labor in Great Britain. pendent boughs of overhanging trees: she seems The dependence upon foreign nations for the hardly to move; and her scanty cargo is scarceraw material of any great manufacture, has ly worth the transportation! With what case been considered as a discouraging fact. The is she not passed by the steamboat, laden with state of our population is peculiarly favorable the riches of all quarters of the world, with a to the most extensive introduction of machinery.crew of gay, cheerful and protected passengers, We have no prejudices to combat, no persons now dashing into the midst of the current, or to drive out of employment. The pamphlet, to gliding through the eddies near the shore ! which we have had occasion so often to refer, Nature herself seems to survey, with astonish

[ocr errors]

1

1

1

ment, the passing wonder, and, in silent sub- 1 to repair the misfortunes of the past. Secondly, mission, reluctantly to own the magnificent tri- the uncertainty, fluctuation, and unsteadiness umphs, in her own vast dominion, of Fulton's of the home market, when liable to an unreimmortal genius.

stricted influx of fabrics from all foreign naSeventh. But it is said that, wherever there tions; and, thirdly, the superior advance of is a concurrence of favorable circumstances, skill, and amount of capital, which foreign namanufactures will arise of themselves, without tions have obtained, by the protection of their protection; and that we should not disturb the own industry. From the latter or from other natural progress of industry, but leave things causes, the unprotected manufactures of a counto themselves. If all nations would modify try are exposed to the danger of being crushed their policy on this axiom, perhaps it would be in their infancy, either by the design or from better for the common good of the whole. the necessities of foreign manufacturers. GenEven then, in consequence of natural advan- tlemen are incredulous as to the attempts of tages and a greater advance in civilization and foreign manufacturers to accomplish the dein the arts, some nations would enjoy a state of struction of ours. Why should they not make much higher prosperity than others. But there such attempts? If the Scottish manufacturer, is no universal legislation. The globe is divided by surcharging our market, in one year, with into different communities, each seeking to ap- the article of cotton bagging, for example, propriate to itself all the advantages it can, should so reduce the price as to discourage and without reference to the prosperity of others. put down the home manufacture, he would seWhether this is right or not, it has always cure to himself the monopoly of the supply. been, and ever will be the case. Perhaps the And now, having the exclusive possession of care of the interests of one people is sufficient the market, perhaps for a long term of years, for all the wisdom of one legislature; and that he might be more than indemnified for his first it is among nations as among individuals, that loss, in the subsequent rise in the price of the the happiness of the whole is best secured by article. What have we not seen under our each attending to its own peculiar interests. own eyes? The competition for the transportaThe proposition to be maintained by our adver- tion of the mail, between this place and Baltisaries is, that manufactures, without protection, more, so excited, that to obtain it an individual will, in due time, spring up in our country, offered, at great loss, to carry it a whole year and sustain themselves, in a competition with for one dollar! His calculation no doubt was, foreign fabrics, however advanced the arts, and that by driving his competitor off the road, and whatever the degree of protection may be in securing to himself the carriage of the mail, he foreign countries. Now I contend that this would be afterward able to repair his original proposition is refuted by all experience, ancient loss by new contracts with the department. and modern, and in every country. If I am But the necessities of foreign manufacturers, asked, why unprotected industry should not without imputing to them any sinister design, succeed in a struggle with protected industry, may oblige them to throw into our markets the I answer, the fact has ever been so, and that fabrics which have accumulated on their hands, is sufficient; I reply, that UNIFORM EXPERIENCE in consequence of obstruction in the ordinary evinces that it cannot succeed in such an un- vents, or from over-calculation; and the forced equal contest, and that is sufficient. If we sales, at losing_prices, may prostrate our esspeculate on the causes of this universal truth, tablishments. From this view of the subject, we may differ about them. Still the indisputa- it follows, that, if we would place the industry ble fact remains. And we should be as un- of our country upon a solid and unshakable wise in not availing ourselves of the guide foundation, we must adopt the protecting poliwhich it furnishes, as a man would be who cy, which has every where succeeded, and reject should refuse to bask in the rays of the sun, that which would abandon it, which has every because he could not agree with Judge Wood- | where failed. ward as to the nature of the substance of that Eighth. But if the policy of protection be planet, to which we are indebted for heat and wise, the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Barfight. 'If I were to attempt to particularize the bour) has made some ingenious calculations to causes which prevent the success of the manu- prove that the measure of protection, already facturing arts without protection, I should say extended, has been sufficiently great. With that they are, first, the obduracy of fixed habits. some few exceptions, the existing duties, of No nation, no individual, will easily change an which he has made an estimate, were laid with established course of business, even if it be un- the object of revenue, and without reference to profitable; and least of all is an agricultural that of encouragement to domestic industry; people prone to innovation. With what re- and although it is admitted that the incidental luctance do they adopt improvements in the effect of duties, so laid, is to promote our manuinstruments of husbandry, or in modes of culti- factures, yet if it falls short of competent provation! If the farmer makes a good crop, and tection, the duties might as well not have been sells it badly; or makes a short crop; buoyed imposed, with reference to that purpose. A up by hope he perseveres, and trusts that a moderate addition may accomplish this desirable favorable change of the market, or of the end; and the proposed tariff is believed to have seasons, will enable him, in the succeeding year, I this character.

men,

a

Ninth. The prohibitory policy, it is confi- | tion, and English distillation has been protected dently asserted, is condemned by the wisdom accordingly. But suppose it were even true of Europe, and by her most enlightened states- that Great Britain had abolished all restrictions

Is this the fact? We call upon gentle- upon trade, and allowed the freest introduction men to show in what instance a nation that has of the produce of foreign labor, would that enjoyed its benefits has surrendered it.

prove it unwise for us to adopt the protecting

system? The object of protection is the estabHere Mr. Barbour rose, Mr. Clay giving way, lishment and perfection of the arts. In Engand said, that England had departed from it in land it has accomplished its purpose, fulfilled its the China trade, in allowing us to trade with end. If she has not carried every branch of

manufacture to the same high state of perfecher East India possessions, and in tolerating our tion that any other nation has, she has succeednavigation to her West India colonies.

ed in so many, that she may safely challenge the

most unshackled competition in exchanges. It With respect to the trade to China, the whole is upon this very ground that many of her amount of what England has done, is, to modify writers recommend an abandonment of the prothe monopoly of the East India Company, in hibitory system. It is to give greater scope to behalf of one, and a small part of her subjects, British industry and enterprise. It is upon the to increase the commerce of another and the same selfish principle. The object of the most greater portion of them. The abolition of the perfect freedom of trade, with such a nation as restriction, therefore, operates altogether among Britain, and of the most rigorous system of the subjects of England; and does not touch at prohibition, with a nation whose arts are in all the interests of foreign powers. The tolera- their infancy, may both be precisely the same. tion of our commerce to British India, is for In both cases, it is to give greater expansion to the sake of the specie, with which we mainly native industry. They only differ in the theacarry on that commerce, and which, having per- tres of their operation. The abolition of the formed its circuit, returns to Great Britain in restrictive system by Britain, if by it she could exchange for British manufactures. The relax- prevail upon other nations to imitate her exation from the colonial policy, in the instance ample, would have the effect of extending the of our trade and navigation with the West consumption of British produce in other connIndies, is a most unfortunate example for the tries, where her writers boldly affirm it could honorable gentleman; for in it is an illustrious maintain a fearless competition with the proproof of the success of our restrictive policy, duce of native labor. The adoption of the when resolutely adhered to. Great Britain had restrictive system, on the part of the United prescribed the terms on which we were to be States, by excluding the produce of foreign graciously allowed to carry on that trade. The labor, would extend the consumption of Amerieffect of her regulations was, to exclude our can produce, unable, in the infancy and unpronavigation altogether, and a complete monopo- tected state of the arts, to sustain a competition ly, on the part of the British navigation, was with foreign fabrics. Let our arts breathe unsecured. We forbade it, unless our vessels der the shade of protection; let them be pershould be allowed a perfect reciprocity. Great fected, as they are in England, and we shall Britain stood out a long time, but finally yield- then be ready, as England now is said to be, to ed, and our navigation now fairly shares with put aside protection, and to enter upon the hers in the trade. Have gentlemen no other freest exchanges. To what other cause, than to exhibit than these trivial relaxations from the to their whole prohibitory policy, can you prohibitory policy, which do not amount to a ascribe British prosperity? It will not do to drop in the bucket, to prove its abandonment assign it to that of her antiquity; for France is by Great Britain? Let them show us that her no less ancient; though much less rich and laws are repealed which prohibit the introduc- powerful, in proportion to the population and tion of our flour and provisions; of French natural advantages of France. Hallam, a sensilks, laces, porcelain, manufactures of bronze, sible and highly approved writer on the middle mirrors, woollens; and of the manufactures of ages, assigns the revival of the prosperity of the all other nations; and then, we may be ready north of Europe to the success of the woollen to allow that Great Britain has really abolished manufactories of Flanders, and the commerce her prohibitory policy. We find there, on the of which their fabrics became the subject; and contrary, that system of policy in full and vig- the commencement of that of England to the orous operation, and a most curiously inter- establishment of similar manufactures there unwoven system it is, as she enforces it. She der the Edwards, and to the prohibitions which begins by protecting all parts of her immense began about the same time. As to the poor. dominions against foreigu nations. She then rates, the theme of so much reproach without protects the parent country against the colonies; England, and of so much regret within it, and, finally, one part of the parent country among her speculative writers, the system was against another. The sagacity of Scotch-in- a strong proof, no less of her unbounded wealth dustry has carried the process of distillation to than of her pauperism. What other nation can a perfection which would place the art in Eng- dispense, in the form of regulated charity, the land on a footing of disadvantageous competi- | enormous sum, I believe, of ten or twelve mil

*

G

lions sterling? The number of British paupers tem makes, from day to day, sacrifices more was the result of pressing the principle of extensive and more considerable.

* It population to its utmost limits, by her protect- offers a continual encouragement to the manuing policy, in the creation of wealth, and in factures of other countries, and its own manuplacing the rest of the world under tribute to factures perish in the struggle which they are, her industry. Doubtless the condition of Eng- as yet, unable to maintain. land would be better, without paupers, if in * It is with the most lively feelings of regret other respects it remained the same. But in we acknowledge it is our own proper experiher actual circumstances, the poor system has ence which enables us to trace this picture. The the salutary effect of an equalizing corrective evils which it details have been realized in Rusof the tendency to the concentration of riches, sea and Poland, since the conclusion of the act produced by the genius of her political institu- of the 7th and 19th of December, 1818. Agritions and by her prohibitory system.

culture without a market, industry without proBut is it true, that England is convinced of tection, languish and decline. Specie is exportthe impolicy of the prohibitory system, and ed, aná :he most solid commercial houses are desirous to abandon it? What proof have we shaken. The public prosperity would soon feel to that effect? We are asked to reject the the wound inflicted on private fortunes, if new evidence deducible from the settled and steady regulations did not promptly change the actual practice of England, and to take lessons in a state of affairs. school of philosophical writers, whose visionary “Events have proved that our agriculture theories are nowhere adopted; or, if adopted, and our commerce, as well as our manufacturing bring with them inevitable distress, impoverish- industry, are not only paralyzed but brought to ment, and ruin. Let us hear the testimony of the brink of ruin.” an illustrious personage, entitled to the greatest attention, because he speaks after the full ex- The example

of Spain has been properly reperiment of the unrestrictive system made in ferred to, as affording a striking proof of the his own empire. hope I shall give no offence calamities which attend a State that abandons in quoting from a publication issued from “the the care of its own internal industry. Her prosmint of Philadelphia ;" from a work of Mr. perity was the greatest when the arts, brought Carey, of whom I seize, with great pleasure, there by the Moors, flourished most in that the occasion to say, that he merits the public kingdom. Then she received from England gratitude, for the disinterested diligence with her wool, and returned it in the manufactured which he has collected a large mass of highly state; and then England was least prosperous. useful facts, and for the clear and convincing The two nations have reversed conditions. reasoning with which he generally illustrates Spain, after the discovery of America, yielding them. The Emperor of Russia, in March, 1822, to an inordinate passion for the gold of the Inafter about two years' trial of the free system, dies, sought in their mines that wealth which says, through Count Nesselrode:

might have been better created at home. Can

the remarkable difference in the state of the “To produce happy effects, the principles of prosperity of the two countries be otherwise commercial freedom must be generally adopted. explained, than by the opposite systems which The State which adopts, while others reject they pursued ? England, by a sedulous attenthem, must condemn its own industry and com- tion to her home industry, supplied the means merce to pay a ruinous tribute to those of other of an advantageous commerce with her colocountries.

nies. Spain, by an utter neglect of her domes“From a circulation exempt from restraint, tic resources, confided altogether in those which and the facility afforded by reciprocal exchanges, she derived from her colonies, and presents an almost all the governments at first resolved to instance of the greatest adversity. Her colonies seek the means of repairing the evil which Eu-were infinitely more valuable than those of Engrope had been doomed to suffer; bnt experience land; and if she had adopted a similar policy, and more correct calculations, because they is it unreasonable to suppose that in wealth and were made from certain data, and upon the re- power she would have surpassed that of Engsults already known of the peace that had just land? I think the honorable gentleman from taken place, forced them soon to adhere to the Virginia does great injustice to the Catholic reprohibitory system.

ligion, in specifying that as one of the leading “England preserved hers. Austria remained causes of the decline of Spain. It is a religion faithful to the rule she had laid down, to guard entitled to great respect; and there is nothing herself against the rivalship of foreign industry. in its character incompatible with the highest France, with the same views, adopted the most degree of national prosperity. Is not France, rigorous measures of precaution. And Prussia the most polished, in many other respects the published a new tariff in October last, which most distinguished state of Christendom, Cathproves that she found it impossible not to fol. olic? Is not Flanders, the most populous part low the example of the rest of Europe.

of Europe, also Catholic? Are the Catholic “In proportion as the prohibitory system is parts of Switzerland and of Germany less prosextended and rendered perfect in other coun- perous than those which are Protestant? tries, that State which pursues & contrary sys- Tenth. The next objection of the honorable

« ПретходнаНастави »