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stances may occur in introducing and maturing manufacturing establishments, especially of the more complicated kinds, that a country may remain long without them, although sufficiently advanced, and in other respects even peculiarly fitted for carrying them on with success. Under circumstances, giving a powerful impulse to manufacturing industry, it has made among us a progress, and exhibited an efficiency, which justify the belief, that with a protection not more than is due to the enterprising citizens whose interests are now at stake, it will become, at an early day, not only safe against occasional competition from abroad, but a source of domestic wealth, and even of external commerce. In selecting the branches more especially entitled to the public patronage, a preference is obviously claimed by such as will relieve the United States from a dependence on foreign supplies, ever subject to casual failures, for articles necessary for public defence, or connected with the primary wants of individuals.”
The suggestion of fostering domestic manufactures by the federal government, for the prosperity of the country, was evidently dictated by patriotic views, as well as a correct estimate of national resources, and the means of future national wealth. A similar opinion was given, at an early period of the federal government, by the Secretary of the Treasury, (Hamilton,) in a very elaborate and able report, made according to the directions of Congress. He proposed, that, in fixing the duties on goods and articles imported into the United States, for the purpose of revenue, a regard should be had, as far as judicious and proper, in the state of the country, to the extension of home manufactures of various kinds, as being favorable to internal improvements, to real independence, and to general prosperity. In the time of the war of 1912–1815, experiments were made, in most cases from necessity, for the manufacture of woollen and cotton cloths; and that of hats, shoes, and boots, was much extended, in various parts of the country. The former being new, and not well understood, was pursued with little profit; and good policy dictated that the patronage of the general government should be given to all proper attempts in this branch of industry. In revising the tariff of imposts, in 1816, reference was had to this great national concern, and twenty-five per cent. ad valorem was then fixed as a duty on cotton and woollen goods imported from foreign nations; which was higher than the duty on most other imported articles. And yet the policy of protecting these goods, so as to pre
vent an increase of foreign manufacture, seems not intended by government to be permanent; for after three years the duty was to be lessened. The manufacture of cotton and woollen cloths was pursued chiefly in the northeastern States, and a reluctance was manifested, by members of Congress from the south, for imposing the protecting duties, as the benefit would be less to them than to the people in the northern and eastern parts of the Union. But the benefit of the extensive cotton manufactures in the United States has been very great, by lessening the price of cotton cloths, and by affording a greater market for the growers of cotton in the southern section of the Union. The great demand and consumption of the article in the manufacturing districts of the United States, serve also to keep up its price in Europe.
In the opinion of some eminent politicians, the message of the President to the national legislature, already referred to, expressed views more favorable to the prosperity of the country, than his policy had before been; and several of his political friends declared themselves in favor of measures, similar to those adopted in the early period of the federal government. A member from South Carolina, and an ardent supporter of the administration, (Mr. Calhoun,) on the subject of reducing the national taxes, said, “this was a question of momentous consideration. On the decision of this question depends the question, whether a liberal and enlightened policy should characterize the measures of the government. We ought, therefore, to proceed with caution. If gentlemen were of opinion that our navy ought not to be gradually improved; that preparation. ought not to be made during peace, for preventing or meeting war; that internal improvements should not be prosecuted; if such were their sentiments, they were right in a desire to abolish taxes : but if they thought otherwise, it was preposterous to say that we should not lay taxes on the people. We ought not to give in to the contracted idea, that taxes were so much money taken from the people : properly applied, the money proceeding from taxes, was money put out to the best possible interest for the people. He wished to see the nation free from external danger and internal difficulty. With such views, he could not see the expediency of abolishing the system of finance, established with so much care and difficulty. The broad question now before the House was, whether the government should act on an enlarged policy; whether it would avail itself of the experience of the last war; whether it would derive wisdom
from the mass of knowledge already acquired from past events, or whether we should go on in the old imbecile mode; contributing, by our measures, nothing to the honor, or reputation, or prosperity of the country. Such would not be his course. He thought it due to the national councils—to the security of the country—that we should be well prepared against assaults from abroad. If danger comes, we shall then be ready to meet it. If it never comes, we shall derive consolation from a knowledge of our security. He wished gentlemen might have an opportunity to express their opinions on this subject, and to decide whether we were to travel downward, or to raise the nation to that elevation to which we ought to aspire."
These views were not directly impugned, but some members did not give to them their sanction, because they were desirous of relieving their constituents from the burden of taxes, of which they had several years loudly complained. And a few were not liberal enough to appropriate the public money, except in cases of absolute necessity. Afterwards, and at different periods, it became a question of great interest, how far appropriations could justly be made by the federal government for internal improvements, as well as how far the doctrine of fostering domestic manufactures, which almost necessarily operated unequally in different sections of the Union, could be extended, under the authority of the Constitution.
The conviction appeared general of the benefits to be derived to the nation from an increase of the manufacture of cotton and woollen goods, but there was a great diversity of opinion, at that time and at subsequent periods, in adjusting the details of a law for the purpose of giving the direct encouragement of government to them. A high duty on imported goods would necessarily increase their price to the purchasers in the United States; who, it was said, would be thus taxed for the benefit of the manufacturers. And the latter insisted on a high tariff for imported goods as requisite, to enable them to compete with foreign manufacturers; especially while the business in the United States was in its infancy, and needed the aid of government, till it had greater maturity and more ability.
In preparing an Act to give effect to the Convention for regulating commerce with England, then recently formed and ratified, the Representatives and the Senate differed materially in their views. It was long a subject of interesting debate. The House of Representatives was compelled at last to yield to the views and opinions of the Senate on the
subject; and adopted the bill introduced into that branch, and withdrew that which they first passed. The House undertook to amend or alter the terms of the Convention ; or, at least, to give a construction to it, which was obviously not intended by the commissioners who signed it, and which would not have been admitted by the British government. The treaty provided for the same duties on tonnage
and articles carried from the ports of the United States to those of Great Britain ; and vice versa. The bill introduced into the House, and there adopted by the majority, made a distinction in cases of coming from ports in England, or from ports in the British islands and provinces; and insisted, that this was requisite to render the terms of the treaty equal in their operation on the commerce of the two countries, and for establishing a real reciprocity of privileges or benefits. A large minority in the House objected to this as incorrect; as it was assuming a power, in that branch of the government, to judge of the advantages of a treaty, which was the exclusive prerogative of the President and Senate. The advocates for the bill in the House, pretended that it was only giving a construction to the terms of the Convention. But this was not a valid argument; for it was the sole province of the Judiciary to interpret a treaty after its ratification by the proper constitutional authority. A similar question arose in 1795, in the passage of a law of Congress for making the necessary appropriations to carry into effect the treaty made with England, in 1794. The Act which was adopted March 1st, 1816, relating to the Convention with Great Britain, of July, 1815, declared “null and void any law of Congress which imposed a higher duty of tonnage or of impost, on vessels, and articles imported in vessels of Great Britain, than on vessels, and articles imported in vessels of the United States, contrary to the provisions of the Convention between the United States and his Britannic Majesty; the ratifications of which were mutually exchanged in December, 1915.”
In 1816, a dispute again arose with Spain, respecting the right to West Florida. The Spanish minister was instructed to remonstrate against the occupancy and claims of that territory by the government of the United States. The latter claimed it as a part of Louisiana; and five years before had taken possession of some parts of it, but withdrew its troops on the united remonstrance of Spain and France. The American government never gave up its claim, and had again occupied a portion of the territory by
an armed force. This occupancy the Spanish minister now insisted should be no longer held, until negotiations could be had, and the question fairly settled, as to the justice of the claim. The Envoy of his Catholic Majesty, at the same time, urged upon the government of the United States, the propriety and justice of preventing the military expeditions fitting out within its jurisdiction, and on the Mississippi, against Mexico; which was then in a state of revolt or rebellion,-as the Envoy characterized it,—against the king of Spain. And he also demanded, that no intercourse should be allowed between the United States and the revolted province.
In replying to this statement and demand of the Spanish minister, the American Secretary of State referred to several instances of alleged injury, on the part of Spain, to the United States, and to a delay of indemnification for former depredations on American commerce, which had been promised to be made. He did not directly impugn the claim of the Spanish monarch to Florida; but undertook to show that as it was now separated from his Mexican territory, it was of little advantage to that nation; and that an exchange of it might be made with the United States, for a tract on the west of the Mississippi, belonging to the latter, since the purchase of Louisiana, and bordering on Texas, then considered a part of Mexico. The Secretary did however, state that a part of West Florida was supposed to be within the territory ceded to the United States, by the general name of Louisiana; such being the extent of the country in 1763, when it was relinquished by France : and that negotiations might proceed, as well while it was possessed by the United States, as by Spain. He denied that any armed force was forming within the United States against Mexico, with the knowledge of the government; and said that if any should appear it would be discountenanced and prevented. That vessels might be admitted into the ports of the United States, for purposes of trade, coming from places in Mexico, pretended by the Spanish Envoy to be in a state of revolt from the authority of the parent government in Europe, he did not deny; and added, that it was not the policy of the federal government to interfere in the disputes between the parent country and their American provinces; nor to exclude the flag of any neutral nation, engaged in commercial enterprise.
This correspondence led to no immediate important result. The Spanish minister still complained of the conduct of the American government; and his chief object appeared