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the southern portions of this continent, and, indeed, to all quarters of the globe. The value of foreign merchandise deposited in the warehouses of Great Britain is estimated at two hundred and fifty millions of dollars. The proposed plan would have tKe same result here, if like effects are to be expected from like causes. The deposit of even a considerable portion of such a quantity in value, made up, as much of it doubtless would be, of goods suitable to the South American and Pacific markets, could not fail to benefit and extend our navigating interest, — one of the most valuable in peace, and the most important of all others to so commercial a community as the United States as a means of defence in war. That our carrying trade would be vastly increased; that shipbuilding \^ould be stimulated; that many foreign markets would be supplied, wholly or in part, by us with merchandise now furnished from the warehouses of Europe; that the industry of our seaports would be put in greater activity; that the commercial transactions of the country would be facilitated; and that a healthier competition would be created in the business of importation, can hardly be doubted. Such, at least, is the opinion of the mercantile community; and so believing, it is natural that they should look with great interest to the concurrence of the Senate in a measure which appears to them so intimately connected with the prosperity of the country.
And finally, Mr. President, if uniform prices and steady markets are, as we are taught to believe, advantageous to the producing classes, the manufacturing interest, next to the commercial, is likely to be most benefited by the proposed measure, through supplies of merchandise near at hand, ready to meet sudden and unusual demands, thus preventing a transient scarcity from becoming the basis of speculation, and furnishing an additional safeguard against those derangements which are always the most injurious to steady industry.
Mr. Dix. then proceeded to suggest and explain certain amendments to the bill, which he intended to propose at a future stage of the discussion.
After the preceding explanatory speech, Mr. Huntington, of Connecticut, spoke at length in opposition to the bill, although his speech was never published except in the form of an outline. The following speech in reply was delivered by Mr. Dix on the 9th July, 1846.
Mr. President: It was my intention to reply to the Senator from Connecticut1 on the day after he addressed the Senate; but I have been prevented by a variety of circumstances over which 1 could exercise no control. With the lapse of time which has intervened, (now more than a week,) his remarks have lost something of their freshness; and I may not be able to follow his argument as closely as I might have done if I could have had an opportunity to respond at an earlier day,—especially as I have been, for a considerable portion of the intervening time, absent from the city, and in no condition to examine his arguments. It would now be in vain, if I were to undertake to follow him from the beginning to the end of his ablg and well-considered speech. I shall not attempt it. But I desire so far to tax the indulgence of the Senate as to notice the objections he has made to the details of the bill under consideration, to examine a few of his leading arguments against the general policy of the measure, and to point out what I consider grave misapprehensions with regard to certain commercial facts which have an essential connection with the subject.
His objections to the details of the bill came first in the course of his argument, and I shall take them up. in the order in which they were presented to the Senate.
But I desire to notice, in the first place, a preliminary remark of the Senator. He did me the honor to say that
1 Mr. Huntington.
he considered me capable of drawing this bill,— a compliment for which I beg him to accept my thanks, though I did think he took from it much of its value when he added that, in his opinion, such a bill ought not to receive the sanction of the Senate. He said, also, that he considered me capable of drawing a bill on any subject: in this he conceded to me entirely too much merit. And he concluded by saying that, if he had not felt this assurance, he would have supposed the bill, from his view of its probable operation, to have been drawn by some large capitalist, or the factor of some foreign manufacturer. Now, I beg to assure my honorable friend from Connecticut that no person of the description referred to by him had any agency in the matter. The person to whom I was principally indebted for suggestions in respect to it, before it was prepared for presentation to the Senate, was one of those "regular dealers" in New York, who, according to the Senator, have no interest in a warehouse system,—who neither desire nor can afford to use it,— a gentleman of intelligence and information, and who is now a member of the convention engaged in revising the constitution of the State. But I can assure the Senator that the gentleman to whom I allude deems the measure of the utmost importance to those who, under the present system, have not the means of entering into competition with large capitalists, and believes that it will have a salutary influence upon the commercial prosperity of the country.
I proceed now to notice the objections the Senator has taken to the details of the bill: —
1. The first objection, as I understood it, was, that in depositing merchandise in store no invoice was required, no appraisement was necessary, nothing, indeed, to show the nature of the merchandise, or the amount of the duties chargeable on it. If the Senator will refer to the amendments I have proposed, he will see that all these objects are effectually accomplished. The importer of foreign merchandise is required "to make entry " for warehousing it, "in such form, and supported by such proof, as shall be prescribed by the Secretary of the Treasury." To make entry of merchandise has a specific and well-known meaning in the operations of the custom-house. It involves the necessity of an invoice, and a compliance with a variety of welldigested forms. Nor is this all. Another amendment provides that the duties and the charges on merchandise deposited in store shall be ascertained "on due entry thereof." The duties cannot be ascertained without weighing, gauging, measuring, or appraising the merchandise. Thus it will be seen that a compliance with all the forms of proceeding which are required in the payment of the duties on the entry of merchandise is to be rigidly exacted when it is deposited in store.
2. The next objection is, that if goods are burnt while in store, the government will lose the duties. Now, sir, I ask if the government should exact duties in such a case? Is it not enough that the importer or owner should lose his merchandise % Have not the duties usually been remitted in such cases? I suppose this to have been the practice; and certainly it is opposed to every principle of liberality, and even of fairness, to exact duties on merchandise which has never come into the home market for domestic consumption.
3. The Senator says, if merchandise deteriorates while in store, the government will lose the whole amount, or at least a portion of the duties, and that they will be calculated on the reduced value. In this he is entirely mistaken. The duties, as I have already said, are to be ascertained on the entry for warehousing the merchandise. They will be calculated on its full value; and if it becomes perishable, the officers of the customs will cause it to be sold forthwith under the provision relating to perishable goods, and thus realize the duties before the merchandise becomes worthless.
4. The Senator is of the opinion, that, under the provisions of this bill, merchandise may be taken out of store and reexported in any quantity, however small. The bill is not so intended, nor do I think it can properly receive such a construction. If he will look at the twenty-ninth line, he will see that a compliance with the requirements of existing laws, in relation to the exportation of merchandise with the benefit of drawback, is necessary. It must, therefore, be exported in the original packages. But if there is any doubt on this subject, a verbal amendment will be all that is required to remove the objection.
5. With regard to the necessity of a bond to pay the duties, there is good ground for a difference of opinion. It is to be remembered that the goods are to be in the possession of the collector, or, in other words, in the possession of the government. They are a perfect security for the payment of the duties. Why, then, exact a bond? If it be thought expedient, there certainly can be no valid objection. Under the British system no bond is required, if the goods are deposited in the public stores, and are in the possession of the Crown. When the goods are deposited in warehouses belonging to individuals or companies, a bond is required, not usually from the owner of the goods, but a general bond from the owner of the warehouse, stipulating that the goods deposited with him shall be exported, or the duties paid in full.
6. With regard to the danger of a clandestine removal of goods, — another objection urged against the bill, — the answer is, that the danger must be very slight, as the goods will be, as those now deposited in store are, in possession of the custom-house officers. There is, I believe, no provision by law now for the punishment of such offences. But if experience shall show the necessity of such a provision, it can at any time be made. Indeed, I will not object to such an amendment of the bill, if it be thought advisable.
7. With regard to the provision exonerating the master of a vessel from all claim of the owner of merchandise, which has been sold by the collector for the non-payment