Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

of all commercial restrictions would enable tregg which would ensuc. When our naviher to swallow up all others. Great Britain gators are driven from the ocean, and our has, in her manufactures, “ so got the start of manufactures and mechanics from their mills the majestic world," that she is able " to bear and their workshops, and all are compelled the palm alone.” The same rate of duty which to cultivate the soil, the beauties of free trade

she requires to protect her manufactures, would be realized. We might have agriculwould be no protection to us.

She has other tural products, but we should have no maradvantages, besides the perfection of her ket. Being dependent upon other nations for manufactures. As compared with us, she many of the comforts of life, and at the same is densely populated; the capital there em-time deprived of a market for our produce, we

ployed is not worth more than two-thirds as should be compelled to toil for a mere pitmuch as it is in this country, and labor can tance, and should, like Tantalus in the table, be had there for one-third of what it costs perish in the midst of agricultural plenty. here. Now, under these circumstances, a re But it seems unnecessary to depict the evils moval of all commercial restrictions would of free trade, as there is not the least prospect operate to her advantage, and to our injury. of its being adopted, unless we blindly open The English manufacturer, owing to the low our ports to those nations which close theirs price of iron for his machinery, the reduced against us. The new tariff of Great Britain, rate of interest, the cheapness of labor, and which has been hailed as an approach to free other causes, can prepare his mill for opera-trade, does not practically make the same tion some twenty percent less than the manu- amount of reduction that has generally been facturer in this country; and after it is in ope- supposed. We have already noticed the duration, his labor will cost him less than half ties she imposes upon some of our staples. the sum the American manufacturer would The rate of duty on the articles we have menbe compelled to give. The mutual repeal of tioned, would average more than 350 per cent all duties on manufactured goods, would be ad valorem. She has made considerable rethe ruin of our manufactures; and, in fact, ductions in her new tariff, but many of them

bring labor in this country down to the low are of but little practical consequence. Some price given in Europe. And the same would articles which were formerly prohibited, she be true of our shipping interest. Remove the now admits, but on a duty so nearly prohiprotection given to this interest, and England bitory, that they can never come in, except would do our carrying and coasting business in extreme cases. Another large class of arfor us, at the ruin of our shipping interest! ticles on which she has made liberal reducUnrestrained trade between us and Great Bri- tions, consists of raw materials used in her tain would be like free intercourse between manufactures; and such reductions render her the wolf and the lamb. In both cases, the policy more protective. On manufactured stronger would devour the other.

articles, her duty is generally low, for the And what is true of Great Britain, is sub-plain reason that she fears no competition on stantially true of France and Germany. The such fabrics. But when she comes to any low rate of interest, and the cheapness of labor, article where other nations are in advance of give them a decided advantage over us in their her, she is careful to impose a duty sufficient manufactures; and unrestrained commerce to protect her own interests. Take silk, for between them and us would redound to their example. Fearing the competition of France, advantage, and to our injury. We, as a na- Italy, &c., she imposes an average duty of tion, are peculiarly situated. We are sepa- about 30 per cent on imported silks, which is rated from the old world hy distance, and by much higher, under the circumstances, than the nature of our institutions. Our leading we impose upon the same article. Our duty characteristic is, that our citizens are free- upon silks will average about 33 per cent, men, and are laborers. The nature of our being nominally 3 per cent higher than that institutions tends to elevate the working of Great Britain. But when we take the classes, and to secure to the laborer an ample situation of the two nations into view, her duty remuneration for his toil. This raises the price is much higher in effect-much more protecof labor-it makes the laborer a man. So long tive than ours. Labor and capital, the two as we maintainthis, our national character-great elements which go into all manufacistic, by protecting our own industry, our tured articles, are nearly as cheap in Great country will be prosperous. But let the Britain as on the continent; and in skill she

pleasing but delusive doctrine of free trade may be considered as their equal. Under obtain in our land—let that policy under these circumstances, a duty of 30 per cent is which we have grown up and prospered, be a high duty. But with us the case is differabandoned, and let us open our ports to the ent. Our capital costs us one-third more, and fabrics of those nations whose hardy labor- our labor iree times as much as it would in Sers can obtain but a shilling a day, and board France and Italy. This, to all practical pnrthemselves, and it requires no spirit of pro-poses, brings our duty on silks down to onephecy to predict the embarrassment and dis-half of the rate imposed by Great Britain. In

her situation, 30 per cent is as protective as to this branch of the subject than I intended. 60 per cent would be in ours. If Great Bri- I will now adduce some considerations in tain can protect herself against those nations favor of the protective policy, and notice some which are her equals or inferiors in the art of objections which have been urged against it. manufactures, by a duty of 30 per cent, it byl. In the first place, there is a class of manuno means follows that the same rate of duty factures, necessary to national defence, which

is sufficient for us, who are England's inferior our government ought to protect. No nation in these manufactures; and especially when has a right to expect perpetual peace; and it our capital and labor are much dearer than is a maxim, venerable for age, "in peace prehers. If England is to be our model, let us pare for war.” Some articles, such as arms impose duties as protective in our case, as her and ammunition, are essential to the defence duties are in hers. The new tariff of Great of the country; and unless we have the means Britain, which has been hailed as the harbin- of supplying them ourselves, we might, in ger of the free trade millenium, is, after all, case of war, be reduced to the greatest exstrictly protective; and the great falling off' in tremity. The fact that we are thus depenher revenue from imposts, during the past dent upon foreign nations for the munitions

year, is a guarantee against further reduc- of war, would naturally invite aggression, and stions.

might prove the cause of involving us in hosAnd even the reductions which England tilities. Arns, ammunition, and clothing, are has adopted, have been induced, not by her indispensable in war. Every man who knows love of free trade, but by the fact that Russia, how much we suffered in our revolutionary France, and the Prussian Commercial Union, struggle for the want of these, will readily had adopted, or were about to adopt new appreciate the weight of this argument. And tariffs, retaliatory upon her. Sir Robert Peel even in our late war with Great Britain, some saw that manufactures were springing up of these evils were severely felt. In looking upon the continent, and that these nations over the expenses of that war, one is forcibly were about to protect them by law; and his struck with the large amount, and the high sagacity enabled him to perceive,'at once, prices paid for blankets, and other articles of that it was for the interest of Great Britain woollen, for the clothing of the army and navy. to reduce her scale of duties, hoping thereby These expenses would have been greatly reto prevent the continuation, or the adoption duced, if the manufacture of woollens had of measures upon the continent, which would enjoyed the protection of the government prior operate to the exclusion or diminution of her to that period. We would pursue this branch fabrics in those countries. And if we look of the argument farther, but most of the adnearer home, we shall find the protective vocates for free trade allow that, so far as napolicy strictly adhered to on the western con- tional defence is concerned, it is the duty of tinent. Mexico, a neighboring Republic, has, the government to protect manufactures, within the last year, adopted a tariff which is Now this admission, on the part of the absolutely prohibitory upon all articles which friends of free trade, yields the very principle she can grow or manufacture. Among the for which we contend. It is an admission prohibited articles, are some of our staples, which will cover the whole ground of the proviz: rice, flour from wheat, except from Yu- tective policy. The articles necessary for catan; raw cotton, cotton-yarn and thread, national detence are very numerous, and excoarse cottons, hogs'lard, tallow, tobacco, &c. tend to almost every department of manufac

Now, does the policy of other nations afford tures; and the same principle which will us any encouragement to relax our policy on justify the protection of these, will justify all the subject of discriminating, protective du- the protection for which we plead. The vaşties? Within the last eighteen months, Rus- rious manufacures of iron for cannon, mortars,

sia, Prussia, France, and Mexico, have re- muskets, pistols, swords, gun-carriages, camp vised and increased their duties; and Great utensils, chains, cables, anchors, spikes, bolts, Britain, though she has reduced her tariff, tools for ship-building, intrenching, and constill retains her protective policy, and with structing works and bridges; machinery for these reductions can safely compete with us steamships ard steam-batteries of hemp for or any other nation. Such is the policy of sails, cordage, and tents-of leather for shoes, the nations with which we have our principal cartridge-boxes, belts, and harnesses of salt commercial intercourse; and it seems to be for the preservation of provisions of clothing no time for us to relax, when they are becom- of all kinds of powder;—these, and a great ing more restrictive. Under these circum- variety of other articles of manufacture, are stances, it would be madness, it would be necessary for the detence of the country. suicidal in us to abandon our protective sys- Soldiers must have shoes, as well as arms tem; and how any true friend of American in- and clothing is as essential to a successful terests can advocate such a policy, is more campaign as ammunition. But national de than I can comprehend.

fence impres something inore than mere milBut I have already devoted more spacelitary operations. It has been justly said that

ITS EXPEDIENCY AND NECESSITY.

39 money is the sinew of war;" and in order of the general system for which we contend; to carry on military operations, the people and that this conclusion cannot be avoided, must have the ability to supply the means. unless we adopt the maxim of despots—that

It is as much the duty of the government to the people were created for the government, Said the people in supplying the means to carry and not the government for the people. But on a war, as it is to aid the soldier, by sup- if it be said, in answer to this, that the proplying him with arms. The people, espe- tection necessary to national defence is for cially in this country, are the source of all the benefit of the people, and not of the gopower-upon them, the government are de-vernment, we reply that the interests of the

pendent for men and for inoney. And if it is people, in time of peace, are as important as Swise in the governinent to protect certain in time of war; and it is as much the duty of manufactures, that thereby they may save the government to protect us against the pau-: themselves soine thousands of dollars in time per labor, ils the hired soldiers of the old

of war, it is certainly as wise in the govern- world. It is certainly as essential to the naSment to protect other manufactures, that mil- tion that its millions of laborers should be Slions may be saved to the people, and there- prospered, as that its hundreds of soldiers by the people rendered more able to supply should be successful in battle. The same the means for prosecuting the war. If we reasons which would urge us to protect our were involved in a war with such a nation as troops, would urge us to protect our laborers. England or France, and had no manufactures, Another argument in support of the pro

the extra expense for manufactured articles, tective system, is drawn from the policy of which would be thrown upon the people, other nations. We have already seen that would be a hundred fold greater than the extra each nation guards its own particular interexpense which would be thrown upon the ests; and that, by the operation of this forgovernment. And shall we be told, in this eign policy, our great staples, flour, pork, day of boasted political light, that this para- bacon, &c., are in a measure excluded from mount interest of the people should be ne- the principal markets of Europe. Now selfglected, and the minor, the paltry interest of defence, that first law of nature, applicable government, guarded ?' Is the interest of the alike to nations and to individuals, requires people to be sacrificed on the altar of the go- us to adopt some measures to counteract the vernment? The distinction which the friends influence of these restrictions upon our comof free trade make between the people and the merce. This principle is so self-evident, that governinent, when they admit that the go-the advocates of free trade, from Adam Smith vernment should protect certain articles for downward, have generally admitted the prothe benefit of the government, but should not priety of countervailing duties, at least in all protect other articles for the benefit of the cases where this measure would tend to pro

people, is entirely at variance with our free duce a relaxation of foreign policy, or would institutions. It is the language of other coun-secure us against the evil effects of that policy. tries, the doctrine of despots—which is well Here, again, our opponents yield us the whole

enough when applied to some foreign govern- for which we contend. Our protective sys. ments, but totally repugnant to the institu- tem is, in its general principles, countervailtions of a free people. The fathers of the re-ing; and the success with which it has been Spublic repudiated the idea that our govern- attended shows conclusively that it comes inent had an interest distinct from the people. within that class of cases in which the counBut it seems that the friends of free trade, in tervailing duties can be wisely imposed. Engtheir zeal to carry out what they denominate land and France impose heavy duties upon democratic principles, are disposed to revive our flour an“: pork-we, in return, impose some of the old, exploded, and odious doc- protective duties upon their manufactures; trines

of despotisms. We admit no such dis- and if we do not induce them to take our floar tinctions. The governinent are the people, and pork, we do that which is practically the and the people are the government. The go-same thing we create a market for then at vernment has no right to protect any article, home. These duties build up manufactures unless that protection will subscrve the inter- in our own country; and, by taking a portion ests of the people; and the interests of the of our labor from agriculture, we diminish the people are no greater in war than in peace. quantity of beef and pork; and, as the manuIf the government protect certain manufac-facturers must have meat and bread, they take tures to promote the interest of the nation in what foreign nations exclude, and so a martimes of war, they are equally bound to pro- ket is created for these staples. This one tect others to promote the interests of the peo- example will illustrate our whole protective ple in times of peace. Thus it will be seen policy, and show conclusively its propriety that the admission of the friends of free trade, and wisdom. We allow that this policy may that government should protect articles no- be unwisely exercised but the abuse of a cessary in war, yields the whole principle, principle is no argument against the principle

and furnishes us with an argument in support itself.

Here, then, we take our stand; and we are we have to pass countervailing duties in any happy in being supported by intelligent free other case whatever. trude men,

themselves. It is the duty of our Let the advocates for countervailing duties government to adopt measures to counteract show us any difference, in principle, between the injurious effects which the policy of for- protecting our citizens against a single enacteign nations is calculated to have upon our ment of a foreign nation, and that low price commerce. If Great Britain or France, or of wages which grows out of their general any other nation, should enact a law to- policy or local condition. In the one case, morrow, imposing new and severe restrictions they ask the interference of the governmentupon our commerce, there is scarcely a free they complain that we are injured—that their trade man in the land who would not cry out competition is destroyed. But no statute can for some countervailing measure on the part be more ruinous to fair competition than the of our government. What we should ask of low price of money and labor in foreign counforeign nations, in such a case, would be, tries; and, though this may not arise from that there should be a reciprocity of interest, any one act of the government, it is, in a great -a fair and equitable competition between measure, to be ascribed to the general and our own and foreign labor. "If this competi-long-cherished policy of those nations. Fortion was destroyed by the special act of a eign manufacturers can obtain their capital foreign government, we should protest against for about two-thirds, and their labor for from it. Now it matters not from what cause this one-third to one-quarter of what it costs the inequality arises--whether from a single act manufacturer in this country. The idea of of foreign legislation, or from their general anything like fair competition, under these policy if a fair competition is destroyed, it circumstances, is altogether out of the quesis the duty of the government to throw hertion. Our manufacturers, therefore, must protecting shield around her citizens, and abandon their business altogether, or the price prevent their being driven from their fields of labor must come down to the European and their workshops by the degraded labor of standard. Is this desirable ? Do the free foreign countries. If the manufacturers of trade men wish to see the hardy laborers of Great Britain can destroy the manufactures this country reduced to the necessity of toil

of this country, I care not whether this abilityling fourteen or sixteen hours per day, for the arises from an order in Council or an act of paltry sum of one shilling, exclusive of board ?

Parliament-whether it is the result of one This is the European rate of wages, as aplaw, or fifty-whether the policy was intro-pears from a report made to the English Parduced last year or last century-its effects liament in 1840. We will give a brief stateupon our citizens are the same, and the duty ment of the price of wages,as gathered from of the government is in no degree altered. that report: The advantages which the foreign manufac- Average prices per week of the hand-loom weavers in turer has over our own, arise, in a great de

andwoollen, in all their parieties, exclusive of board. gree, from causes which, if they are not pro Great Britain..

8s. Od. per week. duced by any one act of legislation, grow out France. of the general policy which their governinent

Switzerland.

5s. 1d. Belgium

6s. Od. have adopted. But whether it arises from Austria

3s. Od. their general policy, or from one special pro Saxony

25. la. vision, the case is equally injurious. For ex These are the average prices given for adult Sample: Great Britain pays a bounty upon male laborers, female labor being from 30 to glass which is gent to this country. This 80 per cent less. Here is a picture of foreign gives the British manufacturer an advantage labor in 1840. But as low as these prices are, over our own. Those who are engaged in it appears by a report made to Parliament in

this species of manufacture here, find them-1841, that the prices had fallen at least 10 or selres undersold at their own doors. This 12 per cent from the preceding year. We ask, competition, which is so ruinous to the glass- again, whether the friends of free trade, who manufacturer in this country, arises, in this profess to be the friends of the people, are

case, partly from the direct action of the desirous of seeing the free, independent laborBritish government. But there are other ers of this country, brought down to the causes in this, and especially in some other European standard-to the miserable pittance

cases such as the low price of the raw ma- of eight or ten pence per day?. A greater evil terial, the cheap rate of interest, a dense popu- could not be inflicted on our citizens a more lation, and consequent low price of wages withering calamity could not befail our counwhich give the foreign manufacturer a deci-try; The wealth of a nation consists princided advantage over our own. The cheap- pally in the labor of its citizens; and, as a ness of capital and labor gives the foreigner general thing, there can be no surer test of his principal advantage; and we have the national prosperity than the price that labor same right to come in, and by legislation, will command. counteract the influence of these causes, as) It will be seen that we deduce the necos

7. Od.

sity of protective duties from the disparity case of the English convention with those

there is between the price of capital and labor towns, all ships built within their dominions, in this country and Europe. The argument to enjoy the privileges of the flag, has nearly from this source deserves great consideration; shut American vessels out from the carriage

for, unless we are prepared to have the price in the German trade; and, as it respects the of labor in this country reduced to six or port of Bremen, (concerning the commerce of eight shillings per week, we must protect it which, the department is placed in possesagainst foreign competition. I am aware that sion of more official information than that of this argument has been regarded, by some Hamburg,) has thrown almost the entire carfree trade men, as deserving of no considera-rying trade between that port and the United

tion; and that it has been said that the low States into the hands of the Bremen shipprice of capital and labor abroad furnish an owners. By an official statement of the numargument against protection, as that policy ber of vessels arriving at that port during the deprives us of the benefits of their cheap capi- year 1840, from this country, it appears that tal and labor, which we might otherwise en there were ninety-nine- of which number Sjoy.

seventy-five were Bremen, twenty United This objection to our argument for protec- States, and four belonged to other German tion, drawn from the low price of labor in for- ports. eign countries, is founded on the principle “ In order to show the numerical proporthat sound political economy requires that a tion of arrivals from the United States, and nation should, at all times, and under all cir- their comparative increase, it may be stated cumstances, allow its citizens to buy where that they were, on an average, from the years they can buy the cheapest, and sell where 1826 to 1830, inclusive, five-sevenths Ameri. they can obtain the highest price. But plau-can, and two-sevenths Bremen; from 1831 to sible as this doctrine may appear, it is far 1835, inclusive, three-sevenths American, and from being sound. In time of war, when our four-sevenths Bremen; and from 1836 to 1840,

commerce is obstructed, a citizen might buy inclusive, one-fifth American, and four-fifths cheapest of the enemy, and in return dispose Bremen.' From this estimate, drawn from of his products to them at the highest price. official statements, the rapid increase of the But even the advocates of free trade would Bremen shipping in the trade with the United not contend for this. They would admit that States, and the proportionate diminution of such a trade should be restrained for public our own, since the treaty between the two considerations-for purposes of state. Now countries in December, 1828, must be obvi. the very principle which would justify re- ous.' straint in this case, will justify a protective Here is the practical effect of free trade uptariff. Public considerations justify the one on our shipping interest; and what is true of as much as the other. If it be proper, in time our commerce with the Hanse towns, would

of war, to interdict a trade'which might prove be substantially true of our commerce with profitable to some of our citizens, it may be the other European powers. I will give anequally proper in time of peace. Our go-other example illustrative of this point. Up vernment is instituted for the benefit of the to 1830, there were restrictions upon the trade people in peace as much as in war; and pub- of the United States with the British Amerilic consideration should have a controlling can possessions. In that year, an act was influence at one period as much as at another. passed by Congress, opening our ports, with.

Again, this doctrine would be as fatal to out any restrictions, to all British vessels our shipping as to our manufacturing inter- from these colonies, provided these colonial est. If it be wise at all times to purchase at ports should be opened on the same terms to the cheapest market, it would also be wise to us. By this arrangement, a trade perfectly employ the cheapest carriers. Now it is a free, so far as shipping was concerned, was notorious fact that foreigners can build ships, opened between the United States and the as well as factories, cheaper than we can; British colonies in America; and this arand the low rate of wages enables them to rangement has proved highly detrimental to navigate their ships, as well as run their fac- our navigation. This will be seen by the fact tories, at less cost than we can do it. One that, since that period, the British tonnage fact, drawn from an official source, will illus- entering our ports has increased 500 per cent. trate the effect of a trade comparatively free. while our own tonnage entering our ports has

In our commercial intercourse with the Hanse- increased only about 50 per cent.; såd by the atic cities, established by treaty in 1828, we further fact that, in the districts of Passamaadopted the bases of equality of duties on quoddy, Portland, &c. situated near the Brit

navigation and commerce in the direct and ish provinces, they have monopolized almost Sindirect trade. “ The liberality of the United

States," says the Secretary of State, “ex * See the elaborate and able report of the Secretary Stended to the Hanse towns under treaty, in of State, Mr. Webster, to the House of Representatives allowing all ships owned, instead, as in the session, 27th Congress.

March, 1842, pp. 42, 43, House Document No. 163, 2d

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »