Слике страница
PDF
ePub

Α Ρ Ρ Ε Ν DI X

Ρ

TO VOLUME ).

ON MANUFACTURES.

IN THE SENATE OF TRE UNITED STATES, APRIL 6, 1810.

MR. PRESIDENT :-The local interest of the quarter of the country which I have the honor to represent, will apologize for the trouble I may give you on this occasion. My colleague has proposed an amendment to the bill before

you,

instructing the Secretary of the Navy to provide supplies of cordage, sail-cloth, hemp, &c., and to give a preference to those of American growth and manufacture. It has been moved by the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Lloyd) to strike out this part of the amendment; and in the course of the discussion which has arisen, remarks have been made on the general policy of promoting manufactures. The propriety of this policy is, perhaps, not very intimately connected with the subject before us; but it is, nevertheless, within the legitimate and admisssible scope of debate. Un. der this impression I offer my sentiments.

In inculcating the advantages of domestic manufactures, it never entered the head, I presume, of any one, to change the habits of the nation from an agricultural to a manufacturing community. No one, I am persuaded, ever thought of converting the plough-share and the sickle into the spindle and the shuttle. And yet this is the delusive and erroneous view too often taken of the subject. The opponents of the manufacturing system transport themselves to the establishments of Manchester and Birmingham, and dwelling on the indigence, vice, and wretchedness prevailing there, by pushing it to an extreme, argue that its introduction into this country will necessarily be attended by the same mischievous and dreadful conse, quences. But what is the fact? That England is the manufacturer of a great part of the world; and that, even there, the numbers thus employed bear an inconsid erable proportion to the whole mass of population. Were we to become the manu. facturers of other nations, effects of the same kind might result. But, if we limit our efforts, by our own wants, the evils apprehended would be found to be chimerical. The invention and improvement in machinery, for which the present age is Bo remarkable, dispensing in a great degree with manual labor; and the employment of those persons, who, if we were engaged in the pursuit of agriculture alone, would be either unproductive, or exposed to indolence and immorality, will enable us to supply aur wants, without withdrawing our attention from agriculture, that

first and greatest source of national wealth and happiness. A judicious American farmer, in the household way, manufactures whatever is requisite for his family. He squanders but little in the gewgaws of Europe. He presents in epitome what the nation ought to in extenso. Their manufactories should bear the same proportion, and effect the same object in relation to the whole community, which the part of his household employed in domestic manufacturing bears to the whole family. It is certainly desirable that the exports of the country should continue to be the surplus production of tillage, and not become those of manufacturing establishments. But it is important to diminish our imports to furnish ourselves with clothing, made by our own industry—and to cease to be dependant, for the very coats we wear, upon a foreign, and perhaps inimical country. The nation that imports its cloth from abroad, is but little less dependant than if it imported its bread.

The fallacious course of reasoning urged against domestic manufactures, namely, the distress and servitude produced by that of England, would equally indicate the propriety of abandoning agriculture itself. Were you to cast your eyes upon the miserable peasantry of Poland, and revert to the days of feudal vassalage, you might thence draw numerous arguments of the kind now under consideration, against the pursuits of the husbandman! What would become of commerce, the favorite theme of some gentlemen, if assailed with this sort of weapon? The fraud, perjury, cupidity, and corruption, with which it is unhappily too often attended, would at once produce its overthrow. In short, sir, take the black side of the picture, and every human occupation will be found pregnant with fatal objections.

The opposition to manufacturing institutions recalls to my recollection the case of a gentleman, of whom I have heard. He had been in the habit of supplying his table from a neighboring cook and confectioner's shop, and proposed to his wife a reform, in this particular. She revolted at the idea. The sight of a scullion was dreadful, and her delicate nerves could not bear the clattering of kitchen furniture. The gentleman persisted in his design ; his table was thenceforth cheaper and better supplied, and his neighbor, the confectioner, lost one of his best customers. In like manner Dame Commerce will oppose domestic manufactures. She is a flirting, flippant, noisy jade, and if we are governed by her fantasies, we shall never put off the muslins of India and the cloths of Europe. But I trust that the yeomanry of the country, the true and genuine landlords of this tenement, called the United States, disregarding her freaks, will persevere in reform, until the whole national family is furnished by itself with the clothing necessary for its own use.

It is a subject, no less of curiosity than of interest, to trace the prejudices in favor of foreign fabrics. In our colonial condition, we were in a complete state of dependance on the parent country, as it respected manufactures, as well as commerce. For many years after the war, such was the partiality for her productions, in this country, that a gentleman's head could not withstand the influence of solar heat, unless covered with a London hat-his feet could not bear the pebbles, or frost, unless protected by London shoes_and the comfort or ornament of his person was only consulted, when his coat was cut out by the shears of a tailor “just from London.” At length, however, the wonderful discovery has been made, that it is uot absolutely beyond the reach of American skill and ingenuity, to provide these articles, combining with equal elegance, greater durability. And I entertain no doubt, that in a short time, the no less important fact will be developed, that the domestic manufactories of the United States, fostered by government, and aided by household exertions, are fully competent to supply us with at least every necessary article of clothing. I therefore, sir, for one (to use the fashionable cant of the day) am in

favor of encouraging them, not to the extent to which they are carried in England, but to such an extent as will redeem us entirely from all dependance on foreign countries. There is a pleasure-a pride (if I may be allowed the expression, and I pity those who cannot feel the sentiment) in being clad in the productions of our own families. Others may prefer the cloths of Leeds and of London, but give me those of Humphreysville.

Aid may be given to native institutions in the form of bounties and of protecting duties. But against bounties it is orged, that you tax the whole for the benefit of a part only, of the community ; and in opposition to duties it is alleged, that you make the interest of one part, the consumer, bend to the interest of another part, the manufacturer. The sufficiency of the answer is not always adınitted, that the sacrifice is merely temporary, being ultimately compensated by the greater abundance and superiority of the article produced by the stimulus. But, of all practicable forms of encouragement, it might have been expected that the one under consideration would escape opposition, if everything proposed in Congress were not doomed to experience it. What is it? The bill contains two provisions-one prospective, anticipating the appropriation for clothing for the army, and the amendment proposes extending it to naval supplies, for the year 1811-and the other, directing a preference to be given to home manufactures, and productions, whenever it can be done without material detriment to the public service. The object of the first is to authorize contracts to be made beforehand, with manufacturers, and by making advances to them, under proper security, to enable them to supply the articles wanted in sufficient quantity. When it is recollected that they are frequentiy men of limited capital, it will be acknowledged that this kind of assistance, bestowed with prudence, will be productive of the best results. It is in fact, only pursuing a principle long acted upon, of advancing to contractors with governnient, on account of the magnitude of their engagemects. The appropriation contemplated to be made for the year 1811, may be restricted to such a sum as, whether we have peace or war, we must necessarily expend. The discretion is proposed to be vested in officers of high confidence, who will be responsible for its abuse, and who are enjoined to see that the public service receives no material detriment. It is stated that hemp is now very high, and that contracts, made under existing circumstances, will be injurious to government. But the amendment creates no obligation upon the Secretary of the Navy to go into market at this precise moment. In fact, by enlarging his sphere of action, it admits of his taking advantage of a favorable fluctuation, and getting a supply below the accustomed price, if such a fall should occur prior to the usual annual appropriation.

I consider the amendment under consideration of the first importance, in point of principle. It is evident that whatever doubt may be entertained, as to the general policy of the manufacturing system, none can exist, as to the propriety of our being able to furnish ourselves with articles of the first necessity, in time of war. Our maritime operations ought not, in such a state, to depend upon the causualties of foreign supply. It is not necessary that they should. With very little encouragement from government, 1 believe we shall not want a pound of Russia hemp. The increase of the article in Kentucky has been rapidly great. Ten years ago, there were but two rope manufactories in the State. Now there are about twenty, and between ten and fifteen of cotton bagging; and the erection of new ones keeps pace with the annual augmentation of the quantity of hemp. Indeed the western country, alone, is not only adequate to the supply of whatever of this article is requisite for our own consumption, but is capable of affording a surplus for foreign markets. The amendment proposed possesses the double recommendation of encouraging, at

the same time, both the manufacture and the growth of hemp. For, by increasing the demand for the wrought article, you also increase the demand for the raw material, and consequently present new incentives to its cultivator.

The three great subjects that claim the attention of the national legislature, are the interests of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures. We have had before us, a proposition to afford a manly protection to the rights of commerce, and how has it been treated ? Rejected! You have been solicited to promote agriculture, by increasing the facilities of internal communication, through the means of canals and roads, and what has been done? Postponed ! We are now called upon to give a trifling support to our domestic manufactures, and shall we close the circle of Congressional inefficiency, by adding this also to the catalogue ?

ON HIS RETURN FROM GHENT.

AT LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY, OCTOBER 7, 1815.

[A Public Dinner was given to MR. Clar, en his return from Ghent, by his fellow-citizens of Lexington, Ky. The sixth Toast was :

« Our able negotiators at Ghent-Their talents for diplomacy have kept pace with the valor of our arms in • demonstrating to the enemy that these Slates will be free."

This Toast was received with loud and repeated cheering. After it had subsided, MR. CLAY addressed the Assembly as follows.]

it was

I FEEL myself called on by the sentiment just expressed, to return my thanks, in behalf of my colleagues and myself. I do not, and am quite sure they do not, feel that in the service alluded to, they are at all entitled to the compliment which has been paid them. We could not do otherwise than reject the demand made by the other party, and if our labors finally terminated in an honorable peace, owing to causes on this side of the Atlantic, and not to any exertions of ours. Whatever diversity of opinion may have existed as to the declaration of the war, there are some points on which all may look back with proud satisfaction. The first relates to the time of the conclusion of the peace. Had it been made immediately after the treaty of Paris, we should have retired humiliated from the contest, believing that we had escaped the severe chastisement with which we were threatened, and that we owed to the generosity and magnanimity of the enemy, what we were incapable of commanding by our arms. That magnanimity would have been the theme of every tongue, and of every press, abroad and at home. We should have retired unconscious of our own strength, and unconscious of the utter inability of the enemy, whith his whole undivided force, to make any serious impression upon us. Our military character, then in the lowest state of degradation, would have been unretrieved. Fortunately for us, Great Britain chose to try the issue of the last campaign. And the issue of the last campaign has demonstrated, in the repulse before Baltimore, the retreat from Plattsburgh, the hard-fought aca tion on the Niagara frontier, and in that most glorious day, the 8th of January, that we have always possessed the finest elements of military composition, and that

a proper use of them only was necessary to ensure for the army and militia a fame as imperishable as that which the navy had previously acquired.

Another point which appears to me to afford the highest consolation is, that we fought the most powerful nation, perhaps, in existence, single-handed and alone, without any sort of alliance. More than thirty years has Great Britain been maturing her physical means, which she had rendered as efficacious as possible, by skill, by discipline, and by actual service. Proudly boasting of the conquest of Europe, she vainly flattered herself with the easy conquest of America also. Her veterans were put to flight or defeated, while all Europe-I mean the government of Europe-was gazing with cold indifference, or sentiments of positive hatred of us, upon the arduous contest. Hereafter no monarch can assert claims of gratitude upon us, for assisistance rendered in the hour of danger.

There is another view of which the subject of the war is fairly susceptible. From the moment that Great Britain came forward at Ghent with her extravagant de. mands, the war totally changed its character. It became as it were a new war. It was no longer an American war, prosecuted for redress of British aggressions upon American rights, but became a British war, prosecuted for objects of British ambition, to be accompanied by American sacrifices. And what were those de mands? Here, in the immediate neighborhood of a sister State and Territories, which were to be made, in part, the victims, they must have been felt, and their enormity justly appreciated. They consisted of the erection of a barrier between Canada and the United States, to be formed by cutting off from Ohio and some of the Territories, a country more extensive than Great Britain, containing thousands of freemen, who were to be abandoned to their fate, and creating a new power, totally unknown upon the continent of America: Of the dismantling of our fortresses, and naval power on the lakes, with the surrender of the military occupation of those waters to the enemy, and of an arrondissement for two British provinces. These demands, boldly asserted, and one of them declared to be a sine qua non, were finally relinquished. Taking this view of the subject, if there be loss of reputation by either party, in the terms of the peace, who has sustained it ?

The effects of the war, are highly satisfactory. Abroad our character, which at the time of its declaration, was in the lowest state of degradation, is raised to the highest point of elevation. It is impossible for any American to visit Europe without being sensible of this agreeable change, in the personal attentions which he receives, in the praises which are bestowed on our past exertions, and the predictions which are made as to our future prospects. At home, a government, which, at its formation, was apprehended by its best friends and pronounced by its enemies to be incapable of standing the shock, is found to answer all the purposes of its institution. In spite of the errors which have been committed, (and errors hava undoubtedly been committed) aided by the spirit and patriotism of the people, :: is demonstrated to be as competent to the objects of effective war, as it has been defore proven to be to the concerns of a season of peace. Government has thus ac. quired strength and confidence. Our prospects for the future are of the brightest kind. With every rcason to count on the permanence of peace, it remains only for the government to determine upon military and naval establishments adapted to the growth and extension of our country and its rising importance, keeping in view a gradual but not burdensome increase of the navy. To provide for the payment of the interest, and the redemption of the public debt, and for the current expenses of government. For all these objects, the existing sources of the revenue promises not only to be abundantly sufficient, but will probably leave ample scope to the exercise

« ПретходнаНастави »