ページの画像
PDF
ePub

1822, the vast amount of fifty-five millions sterling, upward of two hundred and forty millions of dollars, and more than eleven times that of the United States for the same year; thus indicating the difference, which I have suggested, in the respective productive powers of the two countries. The excise alone (collected under twenty-five different heads) amounted to twentyeight millions, more than one-half of the total revenue of the kingdom. This great revenue allows Great Britain to constitute an efficient sinking fund of five millions sterling, being an excess of actual income beyond expenditure, and amounting to more than the entire revenue of the United States. If we look at the commerce of England, we shall perceive that its prosperous condition no less denotes the immensity of her riches. The average of three years' exports, ending in 1789, was between thirteeen and fourteen millions. The average for the same term, ending in 1822, was forty millions sterling. The average of the imports for three years, ending in 1789, was seventeen millions. The average for the same term, ending in 1822, was thirty-six millions, showing a favorable balance of four millions. Thus, in a period not longer than that which has elapsed since the establishment of our constitution, have the exports of that kingdom been tripled; and this has mainly been the effect of the power of machinery. The total amount of the commerce of Great Britain is greater since the peace, by one-fourth, than it was during the war. The average of her tonnage, during the most flourishing period of the war, was two millions four hundred thousand tons. Its average, during the three years, 1819, 1820, and 1821, was two millions six hundred thousand—exhibiting an increase of two hundred thousand tons. If we glance at some of the more prominent articles of her manufactures, we shall be assisted in comprehending the true nature of the sources of her riches. The amount of cotton fabrics exported, in the most prosperous year of the war, was eighteen millions sterling. In the year 1820 it was sixteen millions six hundred thousand; in 1821, twenty millions five hundred thousand; in 1822, twenty-one millions six hundred and thirtynine thousand pounds sterling—presenting the astonishing increase, in two years, of upward of five millions. The total amount of imports in Great Britain, from all foreign ports, of the article of cotton wool, is five millions sterling. After supplying most abundantly the consumption of cotton fabrics within the country (and a people better fed, and clad, and housed, are not to be found under the sun than the British nation) by means of her industry, she gives to this cotton wool a new value, which enables her to sell to foreign nations to the amount of twenty-one millions six hundred and thirty-nine thousand pounds, making a clear profit of upward of sixteen millions five hundred thousand pounds sterling! In 1821, the value of the export of woollen manufactures was four millions

three hundred thousand pounds. In 1822, it was five millions five hundred thousand pounds. The success of her restrictive policy is strikingly illustrated in the article of silk. In the manufacture of that article she labors under great disadvantages, besides that of not producing the raw material. She has subdued them all, and the increase of the manufacture has been most rapid. Although she is still unable to maintain, in foreign countries, a successful competition with the silks of France, of India, and of Italy, and therefore exports but little, she gives to the two millions of the raw material which she imports, in various forms, a value of ten millions, which chiefly enter into British consumption. Let us suppose that she was dependent upon foreign nations for these ten millions, what an injurious effect would it not have upon her commercial relations with them The average of the exports of British manufactures, during the peace, exceeds the average of the most productive years of the war. The amount of her wealth, annually produced, is three hundred and fifty millions sterling; bearing a large proportion to all of her pre-existing wealth. The agricultural portion of it is said, by the gentleman from 'irginia, to be greater than that created by any other branch of her industry. But that flows mainly from a policy similar to that proposed by this bill. One-third only of her population is engaged in agriculture; the other two-thirds furnishing a market for the produce of that third. Withdraw this market, and what becomes of her agriculture? The power and the wealth of Great Britain cannot be more strikingly illustrated than by a comparison of her population and revenue with those of other countries and with our own.

[blocks in formation]

poor nation can pay but little. And the heavier taxes of British subjects, for example, in consequence of their greater wealth, may be more easily borne, than the much lighter taxes of Spanish subjects, in consequence of their extreme poverty. The object of wise governments should be, by sound legislation, so to protect the industry of their own citizens against the policy of foreign powers, as to give to it the most expansive force in the production of wealth. Great Britain has ever acted, and still acts, on this policy. She has pushed her protection of British interest further than any other nation has fostered its industry. The result is, greater wealth among her subjects, and consequently greater ability to pay their public burdens. If their taxation is estimated by their natural labor alone, nominally it is greater than the taxation of the subjects of any other power. But, if on a scale of their natural and artificial labor, compounded, it is less than the taxation of any other people. Estimating it on that scale, and assuming the aggregate of the natural and artificial labor of the United Kingdom to be what I have already stated, two hundred and twenty-one millions five hundred thousand, the actual taxes paid by a British subject are only about three and seven-pence sterling. Estimating our own taxes on a similar scale—that is, supposing both descriptions of labor to be equal to that of twenty millions of able-bodied persons—the amount of tax paid by each soul in the United States is four shillings and six-pence sterling. The committee will observe from that table, that the measure of the wealth of a nation is indicated by the measure of its protection of its industry; and that the measure of the poverty of a nation is marked by that of the degree in which it neglects and abandons the care of its own industry, leaving it exposed to the action of foreign powers. Great Britain protects most her industry, and the wealth of Great Britain is consequently the greatest. France is next in the degree of protection, and France is next in the order of wealth. Spain most neglects the duty of protecting the industry of her subjects, and Spain is one of the poorest of European nations. Unfortunate Ireland, disinherited, or rendered in her industry subservient to England, is exactly in the same state of poverty with Spain, measured by the rule of taxation. And the United States are still poorer than either. The views of British prosperity, which I have endeavored to present, show that her protecting policy is adapted alike to a state of war and of peace. Self-poised, resting upon her own internal resources, possessing a home market, carefully .."and guarded, she is ever so. for any emergency. We have seen her coming out of a war of incalculable exertion, and of great duration, with her power unbroken, her means undiminished. We have seen that almost every revolving year of peace has brought along with it an increase of her

manufactures, of her commerce, and, consequently, of her navigation. We have seen that, constructing her prosperity upon the solid foundation of her own protecting policy, it is unaffected by the vicissitudes of other states. What is our own condition? Depending upon the state of foreign powers, confiding exclusively in a foreign, to the culpable neglect of a domestic policy, our interests are affected by all their movements. Their wars, their misfortunes, are the only source of our prosperity. In their peace and our peace we behold our. condition the reverse of that of Great Britain, and all our interests stationary or declining. Peace brings to us none of the blessings of peace. Our system is anomalous; alike unfitted to general tranquillity, and to a state of war or peace on the part of our own country. It can succeed only in the rare occurrence of a general state of war throughout Europe. I am no eulogist of England. I am far from recommending her systems of taxation. I have adverted to them only as manifesting her extraordinary ability. The political and foreign interests of that nation may have been, as I believe them to have been, often badly managed. Had she abstained from the wars into which she has been plunged by her ambition, or the mistaken policy of her ministers, the prosperity of England would, unquestionably, have been much greater. But it may happen that the public liberty and the foreign relations of a nation have been badly provided for, and yet that its political economy has been wisely managed. The alacrity or sullenness with which a people pay taxes depends upon their wealth or poverty. If the system of their rulers leads to their inpoverishment, they can contribute but little to the necessities of the state; if to their wealth, they cheerfully and promptly pay the burdens imposed on them. É. as British taxation appears to be, in comparison with that of other nations, but really lighter, as it in fact is, when we consider its great wealth and its powers of production, that vast amount is collected with the most astonishing regularity. Having called the attention of the committee to the present adverse state of our country, and endeavored to point out the causes which have led to it; having shown that similar causes, wherever they exist in other countries, lead to the same adversity in their condition; and having shown that, wherever we find opposite causes prevailing, a high and animating state of national prosperity exists, the committee will agree with me in thinking that it is the solemn duty of government to apply a remedy to the evils which afflict our country, if it can apply one. Is there no remedy within the reach of the government? Are we doomed to behold our industry languish and decay yet more and more? But there is a remedy, and that remedy consists in modifying our foreign policy, and in adopting a genuine AMERICAN SystEM. We must naturalize the arts in our country; and we must naturalize them by the only means which the wisdom of nations has yet discovered to be effectual; by adequate protection against the otherwise overwhelming influence of foreigners. This is only to be accomplished by the establishment of a tariff, to the consideration of which I am now brought. And what is this tariff? It seems to have been regarded as a sort of monster, huge and deformed—a wild beast, endowed with tremendous powers of destruction, about to be let loose among our people, if not to devour them, at least to consume their substance. But let us calm our passions, and deliberately survey this alarming, this terrific being. The sole object of the tariff is to tax the produce of foreign industry, with the view of promoting American industry. The tax is exclusively levelled at foreign industry. That is the avowed and the direct purpose of the tariff. If it subjects any part of American industry to burdens, that is an effect not intended, but is altogether incidental, and perfectly voluntary. It has been treated as an imposition of burdens upon one part of the community by design, for the benefit of another; as if in fact, money were taken from the pockets of one portion of the people and put into the pockets of another. But is that a fair representation of it? No man pays the duty assessed on the foreign article by compulsion, but voluntarily; and this voluntary duty, if paid, goes into the common exchequer, for the common benefit of all. Consumption has four objects of choice. First, it may abstain from the use of the foreign article, and thus avoid the payment of the tax. Second, it may employ the rival American fabric. Third, it may engage in the business of manufacturing, which this bill is designed to foster. Fourth, or it may supply itself from the household manufactures. But it is said by the honorable gentleman from Virginia, that the South, owing to the character of a certain portion of its population, cannot engage in the business of manufacturing. Now I do not agree in that opinion to the extent in which it is asserted. The circumstance alluded to may disqualify the South from engaging in every branch of manufacture, as largely as other quarters of the Union, but to some branches of it, that part of our population is well adapted. It indisputably affords great facility in the household or domestic line. But if the gentleman's premises were true, could his conclusion be admitted? According to him, a certain part of our population, happily much the smallest, is peculiarly situated. The circumstance of its degradation unfits it for the manufacturing arts. The well-being of the other, and the larger part of our population, requires the introduction of those arts. What is to be done in this conflict? The gentleman would have us abstain from adopting a policy called for by the interest of the greater and freer part of our population. But is that reasonable? Can it be expected that the interests of the greater part should be made to bend to the condition of the servile part of our populavol. II—20

tion? That, in effect, would be to make us the slaves of slaves. I went, with great pleasure, along with my Southern friends, and I am ready again to unite with them in protesting against the exercise of any legislative power, on the part of Congress, over that delicate subject, be cause it was my solemn conviction, that Congress was interdicted, or at least not authorized, by the Constitution, to exercise any such legislative power. And I am sure that the patriotism of the South may be exclusively relied upon to reject a policy which should be dictated by considerations altogether connected with that degraded class, to the prejudice of the residue of our population. But does not a perseverance in the foreign policy, as it now exists in fact, make all parts of the Union, not planting, tributary to the planting parts? What is the argument? It is that we must continue freely to receive the produce of foreign industry, without regard to the protection of American industry, that a market may be retained for the o abroad of the produce of the planting portion of the country; and that, if we lessen in all parts of America—those which are not planting as well as the planting sections—the consumption of foreign manufactures, we diminish to that extent the foreign market for the planting produce. The existing state of things, indeed, presents a sort of tacit compact between the cotton-grower and the British manufacturer, the stipulations of which are, on the part of the cotton-grower, that the whole of the United States, the other portions as well as the cottongrowing, shall remain open and unrestricted in the consumption of British manufactures; and, on the part of the British manufacturer, that in consideration thereof, he will continue to purchase the cotton of the South. Thus, then, we perceive that the proposed measure, instead of sacrificing the South to the other parts of the Union, seeks only to preserve them from being absolutely sacrificed under the operation of the tacit compact which I have described. Supposing the South to be actually incompetent, or disinclined, to embark at all in the business of manufacturing, is not its interest, nevertheless, likely to be promoted by creating a new and an American source of supply for its consumption? Now foreign powers, and Great Britain principally, have the monopoly of the supply of Southern consumption. If this bill should pass, an American competitor, in the supply of the South, would be raised up, and ultimately, I cannot doubt, that it will be supplied more cheaply and better. I have before had occasion to state, and will now again mention, the beneficial effects of American competition with Europe, in furnishing a supply of the article of cotton bagging. After the late war, the influx of the Scottish manufacture prostrated the American establishments. The consequence was, that the Scotch possessed the monopoly of the supply; and the price of it rose, and attained, the year before the last, a height which amounted to more than an equivalent for ten ears' protection to the American manufacturer. his circumstance tempted American industry again, to engage in the business, and several valuable manufactories have been established in Kentucky. They have reduced the price of the fabric very considerably; but, without the protection of government, they may again be prostrated, and then, the Scottish manufacturer, engrossing the supply of our consumption, the price will probably again rise. It has been tauntingly asked, if Kentucky cannot maintain herself in a competition with the two Scottish towns of Inverness and Dundee? But is that a fair statement of the case? Those two towns are cherished and sustained by the whole protecting policy of the British empire, while Kentucky cannot, and the general government will not, extend a like protection to the few Kentucky villages in which the article is made. If the cotton-growing consumption could be constitutionally exempted from the operation of this bill, it might be fair to exempt it, upon the condition that foreign manufactures, the proceeds of the sale of cotton abroad, should not enter at all into the consumption of the other parts of the United States. But such an arrangement as that, if it could be made, would probably be objected to by the cotton-growing country itself. Second. The second objection to the proposed bill, is, that it will diminish the amount of our exports. It can have no effect upon our exports, except those which are sent to Europe. Except tobacco and rice, we send there nothing but the raw materials. The argument is, that Europe will not buy of us, if we do not buy of her. The first objection to it is, that it calls upon us to look to the question, and to take care of European ability in legislating for American interests. Now if, in legislating for their interests, they would consider and provide for our ability, the principle of reciprocity would enjoin us so to regulate our intercourse with them, as to leave their ability unimpaired. But I have shown that, in the adoption of their own policy, their inquiry is strictly limited to a consideration of their peculiar interests, without any regard to that of ours. The next remark I would make is, that the bill only operates upon certain articles of European industry, which it is supposed our interest requires us to manufacture within ourselves; and although its effect will be to diminish the amount of our imports of those articles, it leaves them free to supply us with any other produce of their industry. And since the circle of human comforts, refinements, and luxuries, is of great extent, Europe will still find herself able to purchase from us what she has hitherto done, and to discharge the debt in some of those objects. If there be any diminution in our exports to Europe, it will I. be in the article of cotton to Great ritain. I have stated that Britain buys cotton wool to the amount of about five millions sterling, and sells to foreign States to the amount ward of twenty-one millions and a half.

on, we take a little upward of a mil

lion, and a half. The residue, of about twenty millions, she must sell to other foreign powers than to the United States. Now their market will continue open to her, as much after the passage of this bill, as before. She will therefore o from us the raw material to supply their consumption. But, it is said, she may refuse to purchase from us, and seek a supply elsewhere. There can be but little doubt that she now resorts to us, because we can supply her more cheaply and better than any other country. And it would be unreasonable to suppose that she would cease, from any pique toward us, to pursue her own interest. Suppose she was to decline purchasing from us. The consequence would be, that she would lose the market for the twenty millions sterling, which she now sells other foreign powers, or enter it under a disadvantageous competition with us, or with other nations, who should obtain their supplies of the raw material from us. If there should be any diminution, therefore, in the exportation of cotton, it would only be in the proportion of about one and a half of twenty; that is, a little upward of five per centum; the loss of a market for which, abroad, would be fully compensated by the market for the article created at home. Lastly, I would observe, that the new application of our industry, producing new. objects of exportation, and they possessing much greater value than in the raw state, we should be, in the end, amply indemnified by their exportation. Already the item in our foreign exports of manufactures is considerable; and we know that our cotton fabrics have been recently exported in a large amount to South America, where they maintain a successful competition with those of any other country. Third. The third objection to the tariff is, that it will diminish our navigation. This great interest deserves every encouragement, consistent with the paramount interest of agriculture. In the order of nature it is secondary to both agriculture and manufactures. Its business is the transportation of the productions of those two superior branches of industry. It cannot therefore be expected, that they shall be moulded and sacrificed to suit its purposes; but on the contrary, navigation must accommodate itself to the actual state of agriculture and manufactures. If, as I believe, we have nearly reached the maximum in value of our exports of raw

produce to Europe, the effect hereafter will be,

as it respects that branch of our trade, if we persevere in the foreign system, to retain our navigation at the point which it has now reached. By reducing, indeed, as will probably take place, the price of our raw materials, a further quantity of them could be exported, and, of course, additional employment might, in that way, be given to our tonnage; but that would be at the expense of the agricultural interest. If I am right in supposing that no effect will be produced by this measure upon any other branch of our export trade, but that to Europe; that, with regard to that, there will be no sensible

[ocr errors]

diminution of our exports; and the new direction given to a portion of our industry will produce other objects of exportation; the probability is, that our foreign tonnage will be even increased under the operation of this bill. But, if I am mistaken in these views, and it should experience any reduction, the increase in our coasting tonnage, resulting from the greater activity of domestic exchanges, will more than compensate the injury. Although our navigation partakes in the general distress of the country, it is less depressed than any other of our great interests. The foreign tonnage has been gradually, though slowly, increasing since 1818. And our coasting tonnage, since 1816, has increased upwards of one hundred thousand tons. Fourth. It is next contended that the effect of the measure will be to diminish our foreign commerce. The objection assumes, what I have endeavored to controvert, that there will be a reduction in the value of our exports. Commerce is an exchange of commodities. Whatever will tend to augment the wealth of a nation must increase its capacity to make these exchanges. Iły new productions, or creating new values in the fabricated forms which shall be given to old objects of our industry, we shall give to commerce a fresh spring, a new aliment. The foreign commerce of the country, from causes, some of which I have endeavored to point out, has been extended as far as it can be. And I think there can be but little doubt that the balance of trade is, and for some time past has been, against us. I was surprised to hear the learned gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Webster) rejecting, as a detected and exploded fallacy, the idea of a balance of trade. I have not time nor inclination now to discuss that topic. But I will observe, that all nations act upon the supposition of the reality of its existenee, and seek to avoid a trade, the balance of which is unfavorable, and to foster that which presents a favorable balance. However the account be made up, whatever may be the items of a trade, commodities, fishing industry, marine labor, the carrying trade, all of which I admit should be comprehended, there can be no doubt, I think, that the totality of the exchanges of all descriptions, made by one nation with another, or against the totality of the exchanges of all other nations together, may be such as to present the state of an unfavorable balance with the one or with all. It is true that, in the long run, the measures of these exchanges, that is, the totality in value of what is given and of what is received, must be equal to each other. But great distress may be felt long before the counterpoise can be effected. In the mean time, there will be an export of the precious Imetals to the deep injury of internal trade, an unfavorable state of exchange, an export of public securities, a resort to credit, debt, mortgages. Most of, if not all, these circumstances, are believed now to be indicated by our country, in its foreign commercial relations. What

have we received, for example, for the public stocks sent to England? Goods. But those stocks are our bond, which must be paid. Although the solidity of the credit of the English public securities is not surpassed by that of our own, strong as it justly is, when have we seen English stocks sold in our market, and regularly quoted in the prices current, as American stocks are in England? An unfavorable balance with one nation, may be made up by a favorable balance with other nations; but the fact of the existence of that unfavorable balance is strong presumptive evidence against the trade. Commerce will regulate itself! Yes, and the extravagance of a spendthrift heir, who squanders the rich patrimony which has descended to him, will regulate itself ultimately. But it will be a regulation which will exhibit him in the end safely confined within the walls of a jail. Commerce will regulate itself! But is it not the duty of wise governments to watch its course, and, beforehand, to provide against even distant evils, by prudent legislation, stimulating the industry of their own people, and checking the policy of foreign powers as it operates on them? The supply, then, of the subjects of foreign commerce, no less than the supply of consumption at home, requires of us to give a portion of our labor such a direction as will enable us to produce them. That is the object of the measure under consideration, and I cannot doubt that, if adopted, it will accomplish its object. Fifth. The fifth objection to the tariff is, that it will diminish the public revenue, disable us from paying the public debt, and finally compel a resort to a system of excise and internal taxation. This objection is founded upon the supposition that the reduction in the importation of the subjects, on which the increased duties are to operate, will be such as to produce the alleged effect. All this is matter of mere conjecture, and can only be determined by experiment. I have very little doubt, with my colleague (Mr. Trimble), that the revenue will be increased considerably, for some years at least, under the operation of this bill. The diminution in the quantity imported will be compensated by the augmentation of the duty. In reference to the article of molasses, for example, if the import of it should be reduced fifty per centum, the amount of duty collected would be the same as it now is. But it will not, in all probability, be reduced by any thing like that proportion. And then there are some other articles which will continue to be introduced in as large quantities as ever, notwithstanding the increase of duty, the object in reference to them being revenue, and not the encouragement of domestic manufactures. Another cause will render the revenue of this year, in particular, much more productive than it otherwise would have been ; and that is, that large quantities of goods have been introduced into the country, in anticipation of the adoption of this measure. The eagle does not dart a

« 前へ次へ »