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good, at any price not exceeding, by more than a given amount, the current price of foreign hemp in our market. Every thing conspires to render some such course preferable to the one now proposed. The encouragement in that way would be ample, and, if the experiment should succeed, the whole object would be gained; and if it should fail, no considerable loss or evil would be felt by any one.
I stated, some days ago, and I wish to renew the statement, what was the amount of the proposed augmentation of the duties on iron and hemp, in the cost of a vessel. Take the case of a common ship of three hundred tons, not coppered, nor copper-fastened. It would stand thus, by the present duties :
141 tons of iron, for hull, rigging, and anchors, at $ 15 per ton, .
. . . . $217.50 10 tons of hemp, at $30,
300.00 40 bolts Russia duck, at $2,. . . . 80.00 20 bolts Ravens duck, at $ 1.25,
25.00 On articles of ship-chandlery, cabin furniture, hard. ware, &c.,
The bill proposes to add, $ 7.40 per ton on iron, which will be .
. $ 107.30 $ 14.80 per ton on hemp, equal to
148.00 And on duck, by the late amendment of the bill, say 25 per cent., : .
25.00 $ 280.30
But to the duties on iron and hemp should be added those paid on copper, whenever that article is used. By the statement which I furnished the other day, it appeared that the duties received by government on articles used in the construction of a vessel of three hundred and fifty-nine tons, with copper fasten. ings, amounted to $ 1,056. With the augmentations of this bill, they would be equal to $1,400.
Now I cannot but flatter myself, Mr. Chairman, that, before the committee will consent to this new burden upon the shipping interest, it will very deliberately weigh the probable consequences. I would again urgently solicit its attention to the condition of that interest. We are told that government has pro. tected it, by discriminating duties, and by an exclusive right to the coasting trade. But it would retain the coasting trade, by its own natural efforts, in like manner, and with more certainty, than it now retains any portion of foreign trade. The discrimi. nating duties are now abolished, and while they existed, they were nothing more than countervailing measures; not so much designed to give our navigation an advantage over that of other nations, as to put it upon an equality; and we have, accordingly, abolished ours, when they have been willing to abolish theirs. Look to the rate of freights. Were they ever lower, or even so low? I ask gentlemen who know, whether the harbor of Charleston, and the river of Savannah, be not crowded with ships seeking employment, and finding none? I would ask the gentlemen from New Orleans, if their magnificent Mississippi does not exhibit, for furlongs, a forest of masts? The condition, Sir, of the shipping interest is not that of those who are insisting on high profits, or struggling for monopoly ; but it is the condition of men content with the smallest earnings, and anxious for their bread. The freight of cotton has formerly been three pence ster. ling, from Charleston to Liverpool, in time of peace. It is now I know not what, or how many fractions of a penny; I think, however, it is stated at five eighths. The producers, then, of this great staple, are able, by means of this navigation, to send it, for a cent a pound, from their own doors to the best market in the world.
Mr. Chairman, I will now only remind the committee that, while we are proposing to add new burdens to the shipping in. terest, a very different line of policy is followed by our great commercial and maritime rival. It seems to be announced as the sentiment of the government of England, and undoubtedly it is its real sentiment, that the first of all manufactures is the manufacture of ships. A constant and wakeful attention is paid to this interest, and very important regulations, favorable to it, have been adopted within the last year, some of which I will beg leave to refer to, with the hope of exciting the notice, not only of the committee, but of all others who may feel, as I do, a deep interest in this subject. In the first place, a general amendment has taken place in the register acts, introducing many new provisions, and, among others, the following:
A direct mortgage of the interest of a ship is allowed, without subjecting the mortgagee to the responsibility of an owner.
The proportion of interest held by each owner is exhibited in the register, thereby facilitating both sales and mortgages, and giving a new value to shipping among the moneyed classes.
Shares, in the ships of copartnerships, may be registered as joint property, and subject to the same rules as other partnership effects.
Ships may be registered in the name of trustees, for the benefit of joint-stock companies.
And many other regulations are adopted, with the same general view of rendering the mode of holding the property as convenient and as favorable as possible.
By another act, British registered vessels, of every description, are allowed to enter into the general and the coasting trade in the India seas, and may now trade to and from India, with any part of the world, except China.
By a third, all limitations and restrictions, as to latitude and longitude, are removed from ships engaged in the Southern whale-fishery. These regulations, I presume, have not been made without first obtaining the consent of the East India Company; so true is it found, that real encouragement of enterprise oftener consists, in our days, in restraining or buying off monopolies and prohibitions, than in imposing or extending them.
The trade with Ireland is turned into a free coasting trade; light duties have been reduced, and various other beneficial arrangements made, and still others proposed. I might add, that, in favor of general commerce, and as showing their confidence in the principles of liberal intercourse, the British government has perfected the warehouse system, and authorized a reciprocity of duties with foreign states, at the discretion of the Privy Council.
This, Sir, is the attention which our great rival is paying to these important subjects, and we may assure ourselves that, if we do not cherish a proper sense of our own interests, she will not only beat us, but will deserve to beat us.
Sir, I will detain you no longer. There are some parts of this bill which I highly approve; there are others in which I should acquiesce; but those to which I have now stated my
objections appear to me so destitute of all justice, so burdensome and so dangerous to that interest which has steadily enriched, gallantly defended, and proudly distinguished us, that nothing can prevail upon me to give it my support.*
* Since the delivery of this speech, an arrival has brought London papers containing the speech of the English Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Robinson), on the 23d of February last, in submitting to Parliament the annual financial statement. Abundant confirmation will be found in that statement of the remarks made in the preceding speech, as to the prevailing sentiment, in the English government, on the general subject of prohibitory laws, and on the silk manufacture and the wool tax particularly.
Ar the first session of the Nineteenth Congress a bill was introduced into the House of Representatives, by Mr. Webster, from the Committee on the Judiciary, which proposed that the Supreme Court of the United States should thenceforth consist of a chief justice and nine associate justices, and provided for the appointment of three additional associate justices of said court, and that the seventh Judicial Circuit Court of the United States should consist of the districts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois ; the eighth circuit, of the districts of Kentucky and Missouri ; the ninth circuit, of the districts of Tennessee and Alabama; and the tenth circuit, of the districts of Louisiana and Mississippi.
It repealed so much of any act or acts of Congress as vested in the District Courts of the United States in the districts of Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, the powers and jurisdic. tion of Circuit Courts, and provided that there should be thenceforth Circuit Courts for said districts, to be composed of the justice of the Supreme Court assigned or allotted to the circuit to which such districts might respectively belong, and of the district judge of such districts.
On this bill Mr. Webster spoke as follows:
The bill which is under the consideration of the committee is so simple in its provisions, and so unembarrassed with detail, that little or nothing in the way of explanation merely is probably expected from the committee. But the general importance of the subject, and the material change which the proposed measure embraces, demands some exposition of the reasons which have led the Committee on the Judiciary to submit it to the consideration of the House.
The occasion naturally presents two inquiries: first, whether any evils exist in the administration of justice in the courts of
* Remarks made in the House of Representatives of the United States, on the 4th of January, 1826, on the Bill to amend the Judiciary System.