Слике страница
PDF
ePub

Mr. Polk, their candidate for the Presidency, is declared to be a supporter of the tariff, a protectionist, a thorough Pennsylvanian on all these subjects. This is, at least, a bold stroke of policy. I will not say how respectful it is to the intelligence of Pennsylvania; I will only say it is a bold, a very bold, political movement. In every State where the anti-tariff policy is predominant, or in which the party holds anti-tariff opinions, there Mr. Polk is pressed upon the confidence of the people as an anti-tariff man, and because he is an anti-tariff man; an anti-tariff man, as they commonly say, “ up to the hub." But in Pennsylvania his claims to confidence and support are urged with equal zeal on the opposite ground, that is to say, because he is a tariff man, and a tariff man equally “up to the hub." Here the whole party, their speakers, their writers, their press, adopt fully, and support warmly, the tariff principles of the Whigs, the tariff principles of Pennsylvania. Here they sail under the Whig flag, they would get into the Whig ship, seize the Whig rudder, and throw the old crew overboard. Or, if they keep in their own craft, they still hoist false colors, give their vessel a new name, and destroy the old log-book.

Gentlemen, I think if Mr. Polk were in a circle of friends, composed partly of citizens of Carolina, and partly of those of Pennsylvania, he would find himself in a curious dilemma. It would be a wonder, if he did not set these two sorts of friends at once by the ears. The Carolina gentlemen would shout, “ Polk for ever, and down with the tariff of 1842!” The Pennsylvania gentlemen would say, “ Polk and the tariff of 1842 for ever!” And what would Mr. Polk say? Why, uttering his own well-known opinions, he would say to his Carolina friends, “ Gentlemen, you do me no more than justice. I am opposed to the tariff of 1812, and think it ought to be repealed. In the canvass against Governor Jones, in Tennessee, last year, I made more than one hundred speeches against it. I am for bringing all duties down to the point they were at in June, 1842; that is to say, to one uniform rate of twenty per cent. You know I have agreed with you throughout on this great question of tariff for protection. I have opposed it by my speeches, by my pledges, by numerous and repeated declarations, and by my votes. All show what I have thought, and what I think now. I now repeat my opposition, and renew my pledges.”

This would be manly, this would be fact, this would be all right; and Carolina huzzas, and Carolina clapping of hands, would not unnaturally, with characteristic earnestness, follow this plain and frank declaration. But how would the Pennsylvania gentlemen stand this? How could Mr. Polk appease them? I will not say that he would, with his own tongue, and from his own lips, speak a directly contrary language to them. I do not think him capable of such effrontery. But if he were to give utterance to the opinions which those put in his mouth who support him here in Pennsylvania, he would say, " My dear friends of Pennsylvania, you have heard what I have said to the Carolina gentlemen. Never mind. I don't know exactly what I am, but I rather think I am a better tariff man than Henry Clay! I am for incidental protection; and that is a great matter. It is rather strong, to be sure, after all I have said in Tennessee, to raise, in Pennsylvania, the cry of · Polk and the tariff of 1842! Nevertheless, let the cry go forth!”

Now, Gentlemen, what excellent party harmony would be produced, if Mr. Polk's two sets of friends could hear him utter these sentiments at the same time, and in the same room! And yet they are uttered every day in the same country, and in regard to the same election. The more loudly Carolina, and other States holding her sentiments, cry out, “ Polk, and down with the tariff!” the more sturdily does the party press in Pennsyl. vania raise the opposite shout. Now, Gentlemen, there is an old play, named, I think,“ Who's the Dupe?" An answer, and here it is an important one, is to be given to the question, “ Who is the dupe ?” and we shall see, in the end, on which party the laugh falls.

Gentlemen, incidental protection, which some persons, just now, would represent as transcendental protection, what is it? It is no protection at all, and does not deserve the name. It is a result which comes, if it comes at all, without design, without certainty, and without discrimination. It falls on tea and coffee, as well as on iron and broadcloth. Let us not be deluded by such a thin and flimsy pretext. It is an insult to our understandings. Gentlemen, I have come here for no purpose of oratory, nor eloquence, nor display. This is not the occasion for any thing of that kind. If I ever had any such ambition, it has long since passed away, and I hope now only to be useful

to you, useful to the great cause in which we are all engaged; and this, and this only, has brought me here. I shall speak with that plainness and frankness with which a man ought to speak, directly and earnestly, feeling as a man ought to feel who has at heart the importance of what he says. This service in which we are engaged is no holiday service, no mere display, no passing pageant, but serious and solemn; serious, as far as any thing can be serious in the secular affairs of men. I come here, then, to use no ornaments of speech, no trope, no metaphor. Honestly and sincerely I come to speak to you out of the abundance of my heart, and I beg you to receive what I have to say in the spirit with which it is delivered.

No wonder that among you, Pennsylvanians, the party that is opposed to us represents itself friendly to the tariff. It is well known that Pennsylvania is favorable to the tariff, and that is no wonder. She is a State of great mineral interests, and is therefore as much interested in the tariff as any State in the Union, not to say more. She has, it is probable, more to lose than any other State by a change of policy on the part of the federal government, because she cannot so easily recover as other States might from the effect of any great change. In addition to her minerals, which are her richest treasures, she has her artisans, her workers in iron, her workers in metals, her spinners, her weavers, her laborers of every pursuit and occupation. Her treasures not only lie embosomed in the earth, but are spread out in every workshop in the country. There is not an operative, nor a working man, who is not interested in, and supported by, the protective laws of the government. Protection touches every man's bread. If ever, then, there was a subject worthy of the attention of a public man or of a statesman, it is this of protection. No wonder, I repeat, that every Pennsylvanian is engaged in the cause of protection; the wonder would be if he were not.

I have often said heretofore, and I repeat it now, that there is not on the globe a spot naturally richer in all the elements of greatness than Pennsylvania, except England, if, indeed, Eng. land be an exception. This is the view of the subject which, it appears to me, both public men and private individuals in Pennsylvania ought to consider. Pennsylvania is full of capacities, full of natural wealth. What policy is best calculated to ex

and conduct of one of these parties, in regard to the principles which it claims for itself, or assigns to its candidates. I pray permission, Gentlemen, to invite your attention to this peculiarity. A singular stratagem seems to be attempted; the putting on of a new face, the speaking with a new voice, and the assumption of quite a new deportment and behavior. This is worthy of close observation and regard. Generally speaking, the two parties, throughout the whole country, are divided and opposed upon one great and leading question of the times, I mean the subject of Protection, as it is called.

The Whig party maintain the propriety of protecting, by custom-house regulations, various pursuits and employments among ourselves.

Our opponents repudiate this policy, and embrace the doctrines of what is called free trade. This is the general party line. The distinction is not a local, but a party distinction. Thus, while the Whig States of New Eng. land are all in favor of a protective tariff, New Hampshire and Maine, which are not Whig States, are opposed to it. And south of the Potomac, it would be difficult, I suppose, to find any men, but avowed Whigs, who favor the tariff policy.

Tariff or no tariff, protection or no protection, thus becomes a great leading question. All Whigs are on one side, and, generally speaking, all who are not Whigs on the other. But then arises the peculiarity in the state of things in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is a strong tariff State. Among her citizens, the protective policy overrides the general division of political parties, and men who are not Whigs support that policy, firmly and ardently. This is clear. Every body knows it, and it needs no proof. Well, then, what has happened in consequence of this well-known state of opinion in Pennsylvania ?

Does the party here act against the tariff? Does it speak the same language which it speaks in Carolina ? O, no! nothing like it. In Carolina, and other States, the whole party exists, principally, for the purpose of putting down the tariff, and rooting it out to the last fibre. They call it the “ black tariff”; they denounce it as cruel and oppressive; and they openly intimate the idea that a disruption of the bonds of our national union would be a less evil, than the establishment and continuance of protective principles. But lo! when they come into Pennsylvania, all is changed. Here they themselves are professed tariff

men.

Mr. Polk, their candidate for the Presidency, is declared to be a supporter of the tarisf, a protectionist, a thorough Pennsylvanian on all these subjects. This is, at least, a bold stroke of policy. I will not say how respectful it is to the intelligence of Pennsylvania ; I will only say it is a bold, a very bold, political movement. In every State where the anti-tariff policy is predominant, or in which the party holds anti-tariff opinions, there Mr. Polk is pressed upon the confidence of the people as an anti-tariff man, and because he is an anti-tariff man; an anti-tariff man, as they commonly say, “up to the hub." But in Pennsylvania his claims to confidence and support are urged with equal zeal on the opposite ground, that is to say, because he is a tariff man, and a tariff man equally “up to the hub." Here the whole party, their speakers, their writers, their press, adopt fully, and support warmly, the tariff principles of the Whigs, the tariff principles of Pennsylvania. Here they sail under the Whig flag, they would get into the Whig ship, seize the Whig rudder, and throw the old crew overboard. Or, if they keep in their own craft, they still hoist false colors, give their vessel a new name, and destroy the old log-book.

Gentlemen, I think if Mr. Polk were in a circle of friends, composed partly of citizens of Carolina, and partly of those of Pennsylvania, he would find himself in a curious dilemma. It would be a wonder, if he did not set these two sorts of friends at once by the ears. The Carolina gentlemen would shout, “ Polk for ever, and down with the tariff of 1842!” The Pennsylvania gentlemen would say, “ Polk and the tariff of 1812 for ever!” And what would Mr. Polk say? Why, uttering his own well-known opinions, he would say to his Carolina friends, - Gentlemen, you do me no more than justice. I am opposed to the tariff of 1842, and think it ought to be repealed. In the canvass against Governor Jones, in Tennessee, last year, I made more than one hundred speeches against it. I am for bringing all duties down to the point they were at in June, 1842; that is to say, to one uniform rate of twenty per cent. You know I have agreed with you throughout on this great question of tariff for protection. I have opposed it by my speeches, by my pledges, by numerous and repeated declarations, and by my votes. All show what I have thought, and what I think now. I now repeat my opposition, and renew my pledges.”

« ПретходнаНастави »