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17

THE TARIFF QUESTION.

THE imposition of a Tariff, or schedule of [ral and intolerable distress. The old 'Contivarying duties on articles imported into the nental' paper had fallen into utter discredit United States from foreign countries, was one and worthlessness; the Specie had been Sof the earliest acts of the first Congress which drained away to pay for Foreign fabrics, assembled under the Federal Constitution. while scarcely anything produced in our (In the preamble to that act, it is asserted that country would justify the expense of its transthe Protection of Domestic Manufactures is mission to a foreign market, and general de(one of its objects, and to this no objection ap-solation and despair prevailed. The evils so pears to have been made from any quarter. keenly felt on all sides overruled the dread The mechanics and tradesmen of New-York, and dislike of a more powerful central GovBoston, Baltimore and other portions of the ernment cherished by a majority of the leadUnion had urgently and with apparent una-ing minds of that day, especially evinced by Snimity petitioned Congress to levy duties for Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson and George

this purpose, and so arrest the tide of exces- Clinton. An adequate and beneficent Na-
sive and ruinous importation, which, during tional Currency and Protection to Home In-
the absolute Free Trade (on our side) which dustry were so urgently needed, so generally
existed under the old Confederation from desired, that abstract notions of State Inde-
1783 to 1789, had inundated our ports with pendence yielded to the pressing demand for)
foreign fabrics, deprived our artisans and la- the benefits to be derived only from a Fede-
borers of employment and bread, drained the ral Government competent in itself to guard
country of specie, paralyzed its industry and the interests and guide the destinies of the
(business, and rendered impossible even the entire Confederacy.

collection of taxes. The inability of the Con- Protection to Home Industry was proudly
(gress of the Confederation to levy duties with-borne on the banners of the friends of the
Sout the express concurrence all the States Federal Constitution, at their great festival)
(was one of the prime incitements to the more held in this city to celebrate its adoption
intimate Union established by the Constitution in 1789. It was the key which opened the
(of 1787-9. The old Congress attempted to popular heart for the reception and defence
Slevy a small revenue duty to provide for the of that instrument which made us truly a
payment of at least the interest on the Debt Nation. Its advantages and necessity were
(incurred in the Revolution. The States gene ably set forth by Alexander Hamilton, Wash-
rally assented to a measure of such obvious ington's Secretary of the Treasury, in his
(necessity and justice, but little Rhode Island elaborate Report on Manufactures, 1790. It
Sobjected, being then largely engaged in for- was clearly sanctioned by Gen. Washington
eign commerce, and her veto defeated the and the first Federal Congress, in the Tariff
measure throughout. Meanwhile, the abso- then adopted. True, the experimental Tariff
lute inability of the People to pay their debts then adopted was generally a low one, but
(and taxes, for want of any adequate circulat- some of the duties were far higher than the
ing medium, led to an alarming popular out-average, and so made expressly for Protection,
break in Western Massachusetts, known as as the Debates abundantly establish. [For
'Shays's Rebellion.' In New-Hampshire, a abundant citations, see Mr. Choate's Speech
little previous, the Legislature sitting at Exe- on the subject, in Senate of the U. S. 1843-4.]
ter was surrounded by an armed mob, en- The expediency and necessity of counter-
deavoring to extort by intimidation the issue vailing the restrictive Tariffs of other Nations)
of a State Paper Currency to relieve the gene-injuriously affecting our own staples were

forcibly set forth by Mr. Jefferson in his Re--and found our Industry as ill prepared as Sport on the subject as Secretary of State in our Arms for the deadly encounter. We had 1793. The general necessity of Protection to scarcely any Manufactures-we had hitherto Home Industry, apart from all consideration purchased the better part of our Clothing from Sof the policy of foreign powers, is distinctly the very nation which we now grappled in maintained in the Letters and Messages of phrenzied hostility, and whose cruisers were Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, J. about to seal our coast against the approach Q. Adams and Jackson, [for which see Slade's of any other vessels from abroad except at Speech, Ho. of Reps. Dec. 20, 1841, Am. La- their utmost peril. Although possessing the Sborer, p. 6 to 22, or Whig Almanac, of 1843;] finest and amplest Cotton-growing soil in the in the Speeches, &c. of John C. Calhoun, Dr. world, with unsurpassed facilities for the proThomas Cooper, and other ultra-Southern duction of Wool, Flax, Hemp and Silk, we Statesmen who have more recently appeared were producing none of them but the two as champions of Free Trade; and in the former, and of these our Wool at least was Messages of George Clinton, D. D. Tompkins, inadequate in quantity and inferior in quality. De Witt Clinton, W. L. Marcy, Wm. H. A state of war is necessarily of uncertain duSeward and other eminent Governors of the ration and most unfavorable to the commenceState of New-York. [For citations, see Ame- ment of new industrial enterprises requiring a rican Laborer, pages 149-151.] large outlay before any return can be realBut the breaking out of the great European ized. Labor and materials are then expenwars consequent on the French Revolution sive, and the able-bodied men of the country diverted, to a great extent, the attention of are wanted in the fleets and the armies, in our people from the building up of a self-sus-building ships, forts, &c. or in the production taining and symmetrical system of Home In- of the means of sustenance for those or of dedustry and Home Markets. Our Maritime struction for their foes. Yet so great was the population found a lucrative though precari-scarcity of materials for Clothing in 1811-12) ous employment in the carrying trade be- and subsequently, that our Government, it is tween the hostile nations, while our Agricul- stated, was compelled to send clandestinely ture was stimulated by the high prices readily to England for the means of clothing the paid in Europe for food for the vast arma- troops they were about to raise with the inments constantly maintained. In the excite-tent of fighting that country, obtaining the Sment created by the prospect of immediate needed supplies under the pretence of purand large gains, the idea of laying broad and chasing 'Indian blankets' to fulfil treaty stipCloths deep the foundations of permanent and as-ulations with our Western savages. sured prosperity was overlaid and practically now commanded such exorbitant prices that discarded. The frequent and ruinous inter- if the People had really been compelled by a ruptions of our profitable foreign pursuits by stringent Protection to pay more for them Orders in Council, Berlin and Milan Decrees, during the twenty preceding years, as the unjustifiable Embargoes, illegal confiscations, Free-Traders contend, they would have reand the various resorts of powers unscrupu-ceived it all back again in the far lower prices Slous in their hostility to each other and in their during the War which their Home Producenvy of our fortune, were treated as disagree-tion under seasonable encouragement would Sable accidents, and failed to make their legit-have inevitably secured. Now the business imate impression on the public mind. At of Manufacturing was hastily rushed into un(length, the tempest of War burst upon our der the temptation held out by the high prices) own shores-a war which would never have of Cloths, without experience, without prooccurred had our pursuits and our policy been per machinery or artisans, for the War would as little dependent on Foreign interests, ne-not allow us to obtain them. Some made cessities or caprices as they should have been money, or thought they did, in the business;

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but far more had but just completed the in- Strenuous efforts were made at the long)
vestment of all they had and all they could Sessions in 1820 and '22 respectively to ren-
get credit for in mills and factories when der the Tariff more Protective; and in the{
Peace came to blast their sanguine expecta- House they were rendered successful by the
tions. The War duties and the War block-great ability and popularity of the Speaker,
ades were at an end; the contents of British HENRY CLAY, who, from his first entrance
Swarehouses, including the accumulated refuse into Congress, and even before, in the Ken-S
of former years, were heaped upon our shores tucky Legislature, had signalized himself as
(in reckless profusion and sold at any price-a champion of Protection to Home Industry.
British fabrics being advertised at Boston to He was ably supported by Messrs. Tod and
be sold 'pound for pound '—that is, $3.33 in Baldwin of Pa. and other advocates of the
Boston, duty paid, for what had cost $4.44 in true policy, but the bills failed in the Senate,
England-and our infant manufactories were through a union of the Commercial and Plant-
Soverwhelmed and crushed at once. It was ing interests, by a very close vote. In 1824,
openly avowed by Lord Brougham in the the effort was renewed, and this time with
British Parliament that the destruction of our success. A decided accession of National
Manufactures was an object of National so- prosperity was soon visible, though interrupt-
licitude. An appeal to the Congress of 1816 ed in the commercial sections by the insane
Selicited much excellent talk in favor of Pro-Cotton speculations which soon followed. In
tectien, but no adequate action corresponding 1828, a farther revision of the Tariff was had,
thereto. On coarse Cottons (by means of the rendering it still more thoroughly Protective.
minimum, or principle of estimating all fab- The whole Union, except possibly the exclu-
rics to have cost at least twenty cents the sively Cotton-planting region, felt the benefi-S
square yard, and charging duties according-cent impulse given to Industry and Business
(ly) a sufficient duty was levied, and so on a generally by this act, and continued to feel it
Sfew other descriptions of coarse manufac-so long as the vitality of the act remained.
tures. Generally, however, only low ad va-But South-Carolina attempted to nullify it; a
lorem duties were imposed, which would not civil war appeared imminent; and a Congress
sustain existing establishments against a ruin- assembled (1832–3) of which the majority of
Sous Foreign competition, much less call into the dominant party were hostile to Protection.
existence the new branches imminently need- Mr. Verplanck, from the Committee of Ways
ed by the country. The consequence was a and Means of the House, had reported a bill
Sgeneral prostration of the Manufacturing in- making a most sweeping change in the Tariff
terest, followed in natural order by an ex- and destroying its Protective features entirely.S
(treme depression of the prices of nearly all Mr. Clay, then in the Senate, and prominent
Agricultural staples, so that the seven years in the councils of the Whig party, saw no
(from 1819 to 1825 inclusive exhibited the low-reason for having a desolating civil war on
est average prices of those staples ever known account of the Protective principle, which
in America. The large class of farmers who was to be utterly abandoned as soon as the
Shad purchased lands during the War or other carnage was complete. He proposed a Com-
periods of Agricultural prosperity and were promise, by which the existing Tariff was to
still in debt for a good part of them, were be gradually reduced through the ten suc-
ruined inevitably. There were townships if ceeding years, until it should reach the uni-S
not counties in New-England in which every form standard of twenty per cent. ad valorem ;)
fourth farmer was a bankrupt, and his farm at not as formerly twenty per cent. on the For-
the mercy of the Sheriff. Such was our sec-eign value of the articles imported, but twenty
Sond fair experiment of comparative Free per cent. on their value in this country,
Trade,—that under the Confederacy having which is a very different thing. This propo-
(been the first.
Isition was accepted by South-Carolina and by

a large majority in each House. By its adop-|for good reasons shown. Of course, amid tion, a civil war was prevented and the evil such a multiplicity of items it is not presumed Sday for our National Industry postponed. that every one is fixed precisely as it should But that day came at last. The extensive be, but that the Tariff as a whole is a good inflation following a severe compression of one, that its provisions generally are carefully Sour Paper Currency consequent on the arbi- elaborated and wisely adjusted, is proved by trary Removal of the Deposites from the Uni- the history of its formation, and by the condi-) Sted States Bank and their distribution among tion of the Country. The three years of low some four-score local Banks, combined with duties, as in the two former periods of relathe diminution of the duties on imports to tive Free Trade, had been years of general stimulate enormous importations in 1836, and depression, of numerous bankruptcies, of (again in 1838-9. The Business of the Coun-Labor widely destitute of employment, of) try was deranged, its Industry prostrated, and enormous and harassing commercial indebteven its Revenue at length fell off so as to be edness abroad, and of stagnation or feeble wholly inadequate to the wants of the Gov-progress in improvement and wealth at home. ernment. The receipts from the Customs in The three years' existence of the present) the three years of lowest Revenue duties-Tariff have been years of reviving energy and 1840, '41 and '42-averaged less than Seven-confidence, of increasing and prosperous In(teen Millions per annum, and from all sources dustry, of extensive and varied Improvement) Sexcept Loans and the issue of Treasury Notes, by building, establishing new branches of fell short Nineteen Millions. The Government productive labor, &c. and of healthful Trade) was reduced to the necessity of borrowing to The aggregate number of employed and re meet its ordinary expenses, and, like other munerated laborers in this year 1845 must be borrowers, found that the very fact of its need- far greater, and that of unemployed, unwiling money afforded an excellent reason to lingly idle persons relatively less than in either lenders for declining to trust it. Its loans of the three low-duty years. The Revenue) were hawked about the capitals of Europe also has largely increased, reaching nearly without finding a purchaser, and were taken Thirty-two Millions in 1844, and far overbalat all but partially and grudgingly on terms ancing the current expenses of that year. It which must have made fortunes for the takers will be somewhat less in 1845,-say Twentyas soon as confidence in its solvency returned five Millions-but still abundant for all legitiby the enactment and operation of the Tariff mate and economical wants of the Governof 1842. ment. The prosperity of the Country under) In the formation of this Tariff, the utmost this Tariff has been steadily, palpably procare was used to make it a good one. The gressive and nearly universal. If New-Englabors to this end of WALTER FORWARD, land first felt its impulse, owing to her large Secretary of the Treasury, MILLARD FILL-investments in Manufactures, it has by no MORE, Chairman of the House Committee of means been confined to her borders. In every Ways and Means, LEVERETT SALTONSTALL, State of the Union manufacturing establishdo. of Manufactures, and JAMES F. SIMMONS, ments are springing up, giving value to Chairman of the Senate Committee on Manu- water-power, timber, stone, brick-clay, &c. factures, in taking immense masses of testi- comparatively worthless before, furnishing) mony from experienced, intelligent and pa- employment for the carpenter, mason, brickStriotic men, weighing conflicting evidence, maker, &c. and giving an additional develop&c. were arduous and unremitted. The ses- ment to the Industry of the vicinity. The) Ssions of the Committees above named were earnings of those permanently employed in protracted and laborious. No article was the factories are mainly so much added to the Scharged more or less than the general rate of wealth of the community. The farmer's famithirty per cent. on the value (abroad) unlessly of whom one or two choose some manu

Sfacturing vocation draw nearly as much from ruthless hands on this great measure of Natheir farm as formerly, and find a ready cash tional independence and progress, and des(market for their butter, poultry, fruit, &c. &c. troy its Protective vitality. Whether these at prices which could not be obtained with apprehensions shall be fulfilled or dissipated, Jour workshops in Europe, and which render a few months must determine. We hope the lighter labors of husbandry far more pro- that the bickerings, cabals and jealousies of fitable than the growing of grain and other the motley host which succeeded, by the most staples. That this Tariff has not abolished all palpable frauds and deceptions, in rallying evils and inequalities of condition, and sup- Pennsylvania with South-Carolina, New-York Splied every man with work at what he may with Arkansas, in support of the election of consider fair wages, is freely conceded. No Polk and Dallas, will defeat every effort to enlightened advocate of Protection, if any, overthrow or essentially alter the Tariff. But Sever represented or claimed that the best pos- in this hope we may be disappointed, and we sible Tariff would produce a Millennium. know that the country can never realize all No one measure can reach and correct all the legitimate advantages of Protection while Political evils, even; much less the thousand its enemies bear rule in the land, and their (wrongs which are beyond the reach of Legis- drawn sword is suspended over the head of Slation and Government. But that it has work- the Tariff, and only withheld from descended well and proved beneficent, not to one ing by the casualty of their intrigues and class or section merely, but to the American rivalries. But whatever may be their course People, we cannot doubt, for the evidence is or its results, let the friends of Protection and Soverwhelming. a wisely diversified, well compacted Home) The beneficent change insured by this Ta- Industry, stand vigilant, determined and hope(riff is yet in its infancy. It has been checked ful. The day of the Nation's deliverance but not wholly arrested by the fear that the from the hands of their opposers cannot be far (new Congress now about to assemble will lay distant. For that day, let us BE READY.

THE POSTAGE REFORM.

Ar the last Session of Congress a bill was Each additional half ounce or fraction, double

these rates.

(framed, amended and passed, in accordance
with the earnest demands of the People
through several preceding years, essentially
reducing the Rates of Letter Postage and
making other important reforms in our Post
Office system. Instead of our old rates of 6,
10, 121, 18 and 25 cents for each piece of
(paper of which a letter or letter packet may
be composed, conveyed less than 30, 80, 150, out of the State; all greater distances 14 cents
and 400, and over 400 miles respectively, the place where printed, free. Newspapers of over
each. But if conveyed less than 30 miles from the
Sfollowing are the rates established by the act 1900 square inches, to be charged Magazine post-
of March 3d last:

Drop Letters (delivered from the office
where posted)...
2 cents.
Advertised Letters to be charged the cost of Ad-
vertising, in addition to the Postage.
Each Circular, Handbill, or Advertise-
ment, printed on paper not larger than
a common cap sheet, and sent unsealed. 2 cents.
2. Newspapers of less than 1900 square inches
(50 by 38 inches) to be charged as before-1 cent
cach for any distance within the State where

printed and mailed, or under 100 miles if carried

age.

3. Magazines, Pamphlets and other printed works, 2 cents for the first ounce, 1 cent for each additional ounce or fraction above half an ounce, ...5 cents. for any distance whatever. In all cases, any writing on or within a package, other than the

.10

"6

Each letter or letter package weighing less

than half an ounce, if carried less than 300 miles

Do. over 300 miles..

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