Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

FEB. 8, 1831.)

Duty on Alum Salt.

(SENATE.

I have no doubt that it would be of great benefit to In. salt was always repacked at New Orleans, when sent to diana to repeal the law levying a duty on foreign salt. a market beyond that place, at an expense of one dollar

per barrel, and sometimes with a considerable deduction Communication from J. G. Read, Esq. member of the Sen- from the quantity, from the rejection of tainted pieces.

ale in the State of Indiana, dated Washington County, And, indeed, after its arrival at the foreign market, it Nov. 30, 1830.

brought a much less price than the pork of the Atlantic I received yours of July last, and am sorry that it is not States, which had been cured with sea salt. From these in my power to give you a more full account of the subject facts, it must be evident, that, in proportion to the abunmatter therein contained. Relative to the act of last win-dance and the cheapness of sea salt in the city of Cincinter reducing the duty on salt, I have only to say that, in nati, the price of pork must, in a great measure, be govthis section, it met with almost universal satisfaction, and erned, and the price in that great mart governs it in the a great anxiety is expressed that the entire duty be taken surrounding States. off this winter.

In the year 1826 or '7, the pork market opened in CinI now proceed to answer, in a brief and concise manner, cinnati tolerably well; but the pork dealers from the Ata few of the queries propounded by you.

lantic cities, finding a great deficiency of sea salt, and that Ist. “Whether the trade,” &c. --It is, but at what at a very high price, refused to purchase, and the article works particularly I do not know. The monopoly extends fell to $2 and $2 50 per hundredi. throughout this state, and, I am informed, generally

The objection, in the Western country, that has been throughout the Western States.

urged against abolishing or reducing the duty on salt, is, 3d. “The price,” &c.--Domestic salt is $1 25; foreign the apprehension that it may destroy the Western manu$1 50. The freight from New Orleans is one dollar per factories of that article. Against the probability of this hundred.

occurrence is the fact of the advance of price in the do4th. "Whether,” &c.--They have; thc depots are ge-mestic article of from seventy-five to one hundred per nerally from twenty to thirty miles.

centum in the course of six or seven years. I am not able 6th. “Whether salt,” &c. -- It is sold by weight, 50 lbs. to say what is the cost of manufacturing the domestic artito the bushel; a weighed bushel will not measure more cle at the several works in the Western country. I have than three pecks.

understood, and believe, that from thirty to thirty-five cents 8th. “Whether," &c.--They sell only for cash in hand. was considere<l a fair price for it in Cincinnati some years The price is higher since the monopoly.

ago.

It is not now sold lower than fifty cents; and, for 9th. “Do the,” &c.--I do not know, but presume they some time in December last, sixty-two and a half cents per do. Foreign salt competes with them.

bushel of 50 lbs. was charged for it. 11th. “ Whether," &c.--It is not.

I will add the further fact against the successful compe12th. “The expense,” &c.--Some few years ago, 1 tition of the imported with the Western salt for domestic had a number of barrels repacked in New Orleans, which purposes, for which the latter is equally good with the had been put up in domestic salt: it cost me $1 12} per former, that the salting of pork commencing in the be. barrel, and 12 cents for each hoop that was furnished in ginning of December, the salt must be imported in the the place of those that got broken in the process. I pre- spring which is intended to supply the market--the usualsume the price is nearly the same yet.

ly low state of the rivers in the summer and fall prevent14th. “The necessity,” &c.-Salt to stock in this coun

ing the navigation in these seasons. The investment of try is of great importance; without it, but few could be money, therefore, by the merchant in the article must be raised. It prevents many disorders, &c.; and many farm- made at least six months before he can effect a sale of it. ers here are prevented, from the high price and scarcity of salt, to give them what they need. 15th. - The use," &c.--It is of great use.

Communication from John C. Webb, Esq. of Missouri,

It is found to be an advantage of at least 50 per cent. to hay, particu

dated Cape Girardeau, county of Jackson, November 24,

1830. larly prairie hay, that is of little or no use without salt, is found to be almost equal to fodder when properly put up

I saw in the Jackson Mercury, August 30, a request of in salt.

yours to the citizens of the West for information or answers to several queries on the article of salt. Consider

ing myself interested in the matter, I shall endeavor to anCommunication from Gen. W. H. Harrison, of Ohio, dated

swer them so far as my own knowledge of the matter Washington City, Feb. 5, 1831.

extends. I have always supposed, and every year's experience To the first query I know but little of myself further confirms me in the opinion, that the duty on salt (at least than this: there are some merchants amongst us that have the high rate of duty lately paid) was injurious to the in- been applied to for salt, and proposed trade in payment; terest of agriculture in that part of the Western country their reply was, they were selling on commission, and in which I reside. One of our staples, and the one which could take nothing else but money for it. I believe yields the most profit to the farmer, is pork. The second query I know nothing about. The increase of its manufacture (if I may so call it, mean 3d. The price of domestic salt in Jackson, varies from ing the preparation of it in barrels for exportation) is one dollar to one dollar twenty-five cents per fifty pounds, altogether astonishing. It is believed that, in Cincinnati and that weighed with old rusty steelyards that will not alone, there were slaughtered and packed this year one preponderate, for eight or ten pounds. Foreign salt is hundred thousand hogs, averaging at least six dollars, and never lower than one dollar and twenty-five cents per thus scattering $600,000 amongst the farmers. It is ascer. fifty pounds. Domestic, by the barrel, varies from seventytained, beyond contradiction, that sea salt is necessary to five to eighty-seven and a half cents; foreign ditto, one prevent its spoiling in its passage through the hot climate dollar per fifty pounds by the sack, after paying for the of the Mississippi, in its course to a foreign market, or to weight of the sack, and then adding fifty cents more for our own Atlantic ports. In both of these, our pork, of late the sack. The common freightage from New Orleans to years, has acquired a very high character. This is due to the Cape, from seventy-five cents to one dollar per hunthe experience wbich has been acquired in packing, and dred. to the exclusive use, when it can be procured, of sea salt. 4th. As to this query I know nothing of myself. Before that article was brought to Cincinnati by the steam 5th. This I likewise know nothing about. boats, the pork which was prepared with the Western 6th. This query I have answered as to the weight per

SENATE.]

Duty on Alum Salt.

(FEB. 8, 1831.

answer.

busbel, only the measured bushel, which, as near as I can S. BANDOUR, of Virginia,) for the express purpose of say pointed, domestic salt will weigh from sixty-five to enabling the agent to answer it before that committee, seventy, foreign ditto, from seventy-five to eighty-five. but who had not availed himself of that opportunity.

7th. In selling by the barrel, thirty pounds is allowed for the barrel; if you take it by the nominal quantity, you Statement of a citizen of Kenhawa, furnished us anonymous, pay seventy-five cents; but if you have it weighed, eighty thot he may not compromise his ironquillity, but with seven and a half cents is most common.

- the names of the payers and receivers in the dead well8th. As to the manner of selling, it is for money alone,

system; the names being now omitted, as it is not the oband that in hand; no produce nor credit in the case will

ject of Mr. B. to interfere with individuals, but to expose

a system. 9th. It appears that there is no competition here; when “Dead wells are now common at the Kenbawa salines, there is a scarcity it is sure to rise, and plenty never brings and are giving to the place a dilapidated and melancholy it down lower than the above stated prices.

appearance, and doing a real injury to the country. There 10th. This query I cannot answer.

are many of these dead wells, and monopolizers pay the 11th. As to domestic salt they will not receive beef or owner for letting them remain idle.

and pork pickled with it, and it does not answer for butter for receive about $1,500 per annum for two dead wells. exportation.

receives about $3,000 per annum for one. 12th. Beef nor pork will not be received in New Or about $1,500 per annum for another. Many others leans if put up in common salt.

receive less or greater sums upon the same terms. Besides 13th. If any does go down put up in common salt, it dead wells, there are also unborn wells, whose owners are has to be repacked with one bushel of alum salt for each paid for not letting them be dug. I know several of barrel.

ihis kind.

receives $1,250 per annum not to 14th. I have long experienced the advantage of giving dig a well on his land;

receives $1,500 annually salt to stock of every kind; if I am working my horses, and on the same terms;

receives $2,500 per annum they fail eating, give them salt or salt and water to drink; in the same way; and I have no doubt, many others, and I discover it immediately restores them to their appetite, it is all a thing of notoriety in the neighborhood. Before and they perform their labor much better. Through the the monopoly, the price of salt was about a shilling a winter I salt them twice a week, and through the working bushel, as it is called, and as often under as above that season ever other day. I find it necessary to salt cattle price, and it could be got for any kind of trade; since the through the winter once a week, they eat their rough monopoly, it is fifty cents cash, and none will be sold for food much better, and look better in the spring; and when retail to the people of the States, except to those who will the grass and herbs begin to put up, I find it necessary to bind themselves to avoid competition with the monopolizsalt every other day, and then through the summer twice ers at their depots. The company that monopolize the a week, and have always noticed, if I neglected salting works are the chief shippers, and through their agents one week, my milch cows failed of their milk. I have retail to the people in most of the Western States, fixing some neighbors that seldom salt their stock at all, and I their own price, their own weight, and the quantity which take notice that my cattle look as well in the spring as each State is to have, except so far as they are interfered theirs do in the fall. Their reason for not salting they with by alum salt from New Orleans.” say is, that salt is so dear. Sheep and hogs require salt After reading, or referring to the extracts of evidence, at any rate once a week through the summer; hogs put taken before the Committee of the British House of Comup fatten much better by being well salted.

mons on the salt duties, and reading or stating the com15th. The advantage of salt for damaged hay I know is munications received by himself from citizens of the Westgreat. I have seen hay that looked like it was almost en ern States, Mr. BENTON proceeded to make copious and tirely spoiled, and when stacked up with salt, cattle eat it extended remarks upon the uses of salt in agriculture and clean, and looked well; but salt selling so high as it does, manufactures; the difference between the impure and inprevents us poor people from having it by us even for the ferior salt made by boiling well water, and the clean, pure use of our stock and pickling up our meat, as nothing but and crystallized salt made by the rays of the sun, in hot money will get it. Go to a merchant, and ask if he wants climatės, out of the water of the sea; the variety of uses any kind of produce, if he says yes-well, I will bring it to which the well water salt was wholly unfit and inadeat such a day--I want some salt to pickle op my meat, for quate; and the cruel injustice, on the part of the Federal I have got no money—his reply is, my salt is a cash article; Government, of expelling the pure salt from the country I cannot sell it for produce. Well, I am obliged to have by an oppressive tax, which might otherwise be had both salt; if you will trust me a little while, I will pay you tho cheap and abundant, for the purpose of compelling them

His reply then is, I merely bring salt for to use the inferior salt at an enormous and unconscionable accommodation; I make nothing it; I must have the price. money down, or otherwise, will reply, I am selling on 1. He remarked on the value of salt to stock, as proved commission, and am obliged to have the money. On these by both the English and American testimony. It was terms I have known men to do without salt until they had proved that the health of all animals was preserved by it; suffered considerably for want of that article, unless they and with this preservation of health, ensued all the advancould borrow of a neighbor.

tages of increased growth and fattening, prolonged life, Honorable sir, if your interference in Congress can multiplied offspring; and superior favor to the flesh, the mitigate the matter, it will confer a very requisite favor on milk, the butter, the cheese, the bacon, beef, and pork, our neighborhood.

which were made from them. In England, it was comMr. B., after reading or referring to these communica- puted that the advantage to the stock from all these tions, which were given under the authors' names, stated sources was 25 per cent per annum. On one farm it was that he had another of very material import which he rated at about 33 per cent.; and the aggregate advantage, would read to the Senate, but without the name. He had or rather the aggregate loss to the farmers for want of salt, the less reluctance in doing this, because he had endea- was stated to exceed the annual amount of the tax, which vored to give to the agent of the Kenhawa company, who was about 7,000,000 dollars. had been in attendance upon the other House during the 2. He remarked on the necessity of sun-made salt for session, an opportunity to answer. He had communicated butter and cheese. If put up in common salt, the butter the statement to a member of the Committee on Manufac- soon became rancid, and sold at less than half the price of tures, whose name he was at liberty to mention, (Mr. J.Jalum salt butter at New Orleans and in the West Indies.

money for it.

[ocr errors]

FEB. 8, 1831.]

Duty on Alum Salt.

[SENATE.

He attributed the general inferiority of American cheese for sale. Another disastrous consequence, but not so visito the impure salt which was used in making it; and ble to the passing eye, was the loss of all these articles for dwelt upon the articles of cheese and butter as sources of exportation. The exportation of soap and candles had wealth to the stock-raising States, if duly improved by the lately amounted to 912,000 dollars in the year; and of leause of pure salt. He said the exports of the last years ther, boots, shoes, and saddlery, to 450,000 dollars. These had reached the value of $177,000 per annum; which, exportations went from the Atlantic cities to the West Inthough considerable, was a trifle compared to the con- dies, and chiefly grew out of the gifts which the Western sumption in our towns, and the export to the Lower Mis- farmers made of their hides and tallow to the drovers. sissippi. He considered the farmersas losing the one-half of They were exportations which belonged to the West, not their whole sales of butter and cheese, by using artificial only because it produced the material out of which the salt, made by men, instead of using the natural crystallized manufactured articles were made, but it was the best place salt, made by nature. To the cows on dairy farms, it was for carrying on the manufactory of them on account of the . proved in England, that half a bushel of salt per annum cheapness of provisions, and the facilities of exporting diwas necessary; and the milk, butter, and cheese, all were rect to the West Indies. richer and better flavored when that quantity, or more, Mr. B. made a further illustration of the evils of driving was given. Common salt would do for the cows to lick; beef cattle from the West, in its effect upon the internal but alum salt was indispensable for butter and cheese that navigation and domestic markets of the great valley. The was to be long kept or exported.

Mississippi river was to the West what the Mediterranean 3. In the article of bacon he estimated the loss at near- sea was to the Romans; it is mare nostram--our sea--and ly one-half in using the fire-made salt. Such bacon would the steamboats and other boats upon it constitute our nanot sell for much more than half price in any of our mar- vigation. The building of these vessels gives employment ket towns, and could not be carried to the Southern cli- to a multitude of useful and respectable mechanics; creates mates, or exported, without danger of spoiling and be a demand for vast quantities of wood, iron, paints, and coming a total loss. Such bacon was often a drug in the glass; furniture of every description; daily supplies of promarket at New Orleans at two cents a pound, a mere re- visions; wood for fuel, now estimated at a million of dollars fuse article at that price, while the alum salt bacon was a per annum; and for an immense number of persons to naready sale at six or eight cents.

vigate and manage the boats. The aggregate of all these 4. In pickled pork. For this purpose alum salt was in- expenditures connected with steamboat building and navidispensable. The artificial salt would answer no purpose. gation, was several millions of dollars per annum, and was The poisonous ingredients called slack and bittern, which the most profitable kind of expenditure, for it was carried to it contained, corrupted the pork in warm climates, and the very doors of the people, and delivered into their hands the soluble nature of the salt itself, by dissolving immedi- in their own houses. Having drawn the picture of the adately, brought all the pieces in contact, and made each vantages of steamboat navigation to the West, Mr.B. venturassist in destroying the other. The crystallized salt, be-ed to make the suggestion that they would be nearly dousides being free from slack and bittern, is large in the bled by substituting a change in the beef trade, from drivgrain, and so far insoluble that a layer of it remains for ing the cattle on the hoof to the Atlantic cities, to sending years between each piece of meat, and acting as a perpe. the beef pickled to New Orleans and the West Indies. tual preservative. Mr. B. said that bacon might be made, Such a change would open a new and immense head for after a fashion, with boiled salt; but pickled pork not at freight down the river, and a corresponding increase for all. For that purpose, the sun made salt was a sine qua freight back; for it was of the nature of exports and im

For want of this salt, the Western farmers had got ports to emulate each other; it would produce diminished into the general custom of making bacon, whereby they prices for under cargo, of which salt would be the chief; and lost about one-third of the product of their hog stock; for a corresponding increase of every expenditure connected the bacon dried and wasted near a third by the time it was with the construction and navigation of steamboats. He sold, and would then sell for no more than pickled pork, then averred that this change, and the stupendous benefits which lost not an ounce in weight from the day it was put resulting from it, depended solely and exclusively upon into the barrel till sold. A difference of one-third to be the free use of alum salt--upon the abolition of the duty saved in the annual product of the hog stock, would be upon that article--upon the simple and obvious process of immense to the farmers; and this difference would be sav. permitting the Western people to use the salt according to ed by the repeal of the duty on alum salt.

their wants and wishes, which God had created for them 5. In pickled beef. For this purpose alum salt is abso. in all the islands of the Gulf of Mexico. And he ridiculed lutely indispensable. Beef could not be pickled without with contemptuous sarcasm the affected alarms of those it; and, therefore, to find a market, the beef cattle were who expressed the fear that there would not be salt enough driven off upon the hoof. Mr. B. pronounced it to be a if the domestic manufactorics checked their operations. losing business, a most disadvantageous traffic, to any He said it was a fear that there would be a failure of suncountry to drive away its beef cattle to be sold on the shine and sea water. hoof. The immediate loss in that operation was nearly Having briefly touched upon the important uses of salt in one-half the value of the beef, and the whole loss of the agriculture, and especially for stock and provisions, Mr. hide, tallow, and offal; the consequential loss was, in the B. proceeded to notice the disadvantages under which the purchase of leather and manufactures of leather, and the farmers of the Western States labored with respect to that purchase of soap and candles, and also in the loss of lea- article. At the head of the list of these disadvantages, or ther, soap, and candles for exportation. Pickled beef in oppressions, as they might with greater propriety be callNew Orleans was usually from eight to twelve dollars a ed, stood the appalling and astounding fact, that the whole barrel, which was from four to six cents a pound. The salt trade of the West, so far as it depended upon the dofarmers of the West usually sell their cattle at from 1} to mestic manufactories, was one vast and cruel monopoly! 2 cents per pound; thus suffering a loss of nearly one-half The amazing fact was proved by a variety of testimony; on the beef; the hide and tallow, which is worth as much it was known to every Western Senator present; it was felt as the beef sells for at such rates, being thrown into the at home, in every department of agriculture, by all the bargain, and given away. The disastrous effect of this farmers of the West. The baleful effects of this horrid suicidal business was seen in every town in the West, monopoly were forcibly depicted by the witnesses whose where foreign hides from South America, foreign leather, comniunications he had read. Double price and scant boots, shces, and saddlery, and foreign soap and candles, measure; the whole country districted, allowanced, and from Europe and the Atlantic States, were daily exhibited stinted; ready money exacted; wells rented from their

non.

Senate.]

Duty on Alum Salt.

(FEB. 8, 1831.

owners to lie idle; new wells prevented from being dug; ed the abolition, immediately raised the duty from ten to overgrown fortunes to the monopolizers, privation, want, fifteen shillings a bushel; but they raised the spirit of the and suffering among the people and stock: such was the people at the same time, and in a few years the whole opshocking and revolting picture which these communica- pressive burden fell to the earth. tions presented to the Senate. Mr. B. animadverted in Resulting from this monopoly, thus established and prothe most indignant terms upon monopolies of every spe- tected, came the present enormous price of salt. Mr. B. cies, and placed the salt monopoly at the head of the abo- begged Senators to recollect the testimony he had read, minable and infernal list. He said this very monopoly was and reflect in how many places the sum of 75 cents, or a one of the causes which brought Charles the First to the dollar, or a dollar and a quarter, was exacted from the peoblock. Queen Elizabeth, though a petticoated tyrant, ple for about two pecks and a half of inferior, fire-made, had the humanity, or rather sagacity, to suppress the artificial salt, imposed upon them under the scandalized salt monopoly, towards the close of her reign; for which name of a bushel. If the duty was off, he would venture act of mercy and condescension the whole Parliament to affirm that the price of pure, sun-made, crystallized salt went in a body to thank and bless her as an angel of be. would not exceed a picaillon for a real bushel at New Or. neficence. The bigot Stuarts revived it, and paid the for- leans, and three or four picaillons in the central parts of feiture in the loss of life and kingdom. There had been the valley of the Mississippi. His calculation was this: that no monopoly of salt in England since Charles the First had the import price of this fine salt was, at present, six cents lost his head; the States beyond the Allegany mountains for that of Malta; eight cents for that of Spain and Portuwere the only example of that oppression at this time ex- gal; nine cents for that of Turk’s Island; and that, in the isting in the civilized world. Mr. B. considered the pre- vast increase which the foreign salt trade would assume, sent duty on foreign salt as the father and guardian of this and the reduced price of the salt from Turk's Island, (a domestic monopoly. He considered it the protector, de- British possession) in consequence of the direct intercourse fender, and supporter of the monopolists. He considered with that island, or rather with the five hundred Bahama the act of Congress which kept up this duty, as the law islands, of which it is the chief, the average price at New which established this monopoly; and denounced such a Orleans would be six and a quarter cents; freight for salt, as law, not merely as odious and oppressive, but as a species under cargo, was now about one-third of a cent per pound, of impiety and sacrilege, a spccies of revolt and rebellion and would soon be brought by the great boats, during the against the providence of God, who had created salt, spring floods, for one-fourth of a cent. Thus, would the and spread it through the universe, for the use of man price of alum salt, at Louisville, be reduced to about 25 and beast, and as the preservative principle of life and cents a bushel. Low as this would be, a great proportion health in both. The sea was filled with it, and the sun of the Western farmers would get it on still better terms. manufactured it. It came cheap and pure from that manu. Thousands of flat-bottomed boats made without expense, factory, established by Divine wisdom, and co-extensive navigated without skill or labor, loaded with every conwith the bounds of the habitable globe. Salt was the ceivable production of the farm and the forest, and depreservative principle of the world. Every living animal scending from all the confluent streams of the Mississippi, must have it; every species of food must contain it. With- visit New Orleans every winter. The owners are their out it, universal death and corruption would ensue. The own factors and commission merchants. They sell out the disciples of Christ were called by their master “the salt contents of their boat (which, moored to the levee, and of the earth;" and that divine metaphor was intended to labelled with its contents, serves for warehouse, kitchen, convey to the understandings of all people the knowledge parlor, and bed-room) in the course of the winter months, of the preservative nature of their mission, a mission which when they could do but little at home; buy their grocewas to save the moral world from corruption, as salt pre. ries in the spring, step on board a steamer with their faserves the animal and material world. Laws to prevent mily supplies, and, for six dollars, are at home in eight or any portion of the human race from using the pure and ten clays, ready to commence the new crop with the reperfect salt made by the rays of the sun out of the waves of turn of the vernal season. To all such the acquisition of the sea, if enacted without a dire necessity, were impi- two or three sacks of pure and perfect salt would be noous contrivances to frustrate the beneficence of God. A thing but the exchange of a few loose vegetables, which war for self-preservation alone could justify such laws. would have rotted at home. They had existed in all countries, and had run highest Mr. B. maintained that the salt tax fell heaviest upon where human liberty was at the lowest ebb. They are the laboring classes, and upon the poor. They used most now disappearing, vanishing, and falling before the recu- salt in proportion to their wealth, and bought at a disadperative energies of popular rights. The gabelle fell, in vantage, because they bought in a pinch, in small quantiFrance, before the march of revolution. In England, this ties, at retail prices, raised the money to buy it at a sacriunnatural tax, after obtaining the monstrous height of fif- fice, and were most subject to be imposed upon, both as teen shillings a bushel, sunk and disappeared before the to weight, quality, and price. It was so in England; it is labors of that pre-eminent committee from whose reports so here. Look at the English testimony! It tells you the a few imperfect and mutilated extracts have been read. tax was harder upon the peasant than the nobleman. Look The salt tax disappeared from the United States about at the American testimony! It tells you that the people twenty years ago, during the auspicious administration of in remote places—the small farmers, remote from great the immortal Jefferson. Even Spain, the last country towns, had to pay the highest prices, received the scantiest upon earth in which to look for a liberal example, was an measure, and suffered most from extortion and imposition. instance of the generous use of salt. The United States It was in such places, and among such customers, that the alone are now presenting the example of keeping up this weighed bushel of fifty pounds would find ample accommoodious tax, of keeping it up without necessity, of keeping dation for lodging, in a half bushel measure; that the old it up for the oppression of the people, for the protection rusty steelyards were used, that would not preponderate of monopolizers, for the impoverishment and degradation for ten pounds in fifty; that the deficient barrels were of the West. But let the people not despair. Relief, obliged to be taken at the marked weight; and that the though out of sight, is sometimes near at hand. The extortionate prices of one and two dollars for these scant darkest hour of the night is that which precedes the weight bushels, equal to two and four dollars for real mea. break of day. In England, in 1801, the first attempt of sured bushels, and that for well-water salt, impregnated the friends of the people to reduce the salt tax, was fol- with poisonous ingredients, and only half the strength of lowed by the insult and outrage of raising it. The Pitt sea-water salt, were actually paid by the helpless people, administration, to punish and intimidate those who propos- and received by the relentless monopolizers!' And yet, in

Feb. 8, 1831.)

Duty on Alum Salt.

[SENATE.

the face of these damning facts, in the midst of the cries tion of the Union should be thrown on the domestic supof these suffering people, there is a scheme on foot, not ply, and the sheep supplied first, there would not be one only to resist the reduction, but to effect the increase of grain left for the hogs, horses, cattle, people, and the this diabolical tax! to raise it from ten to fifteen cents. thousand uses beside, for which salt is indispensable! So

[Here Mr. B. alluded to the bill in the House of Repre- much for the domestic supply! It had been computed in sentatives, to increase the salt tax, and thought this bill England that the supply of salt to the sheep was the saving ought to be proclaimed throughout the West by a herald of six hundred thousand head from dying annually; the and a trumpet, to rouse and alarm the people, and to put loss of Western stock for want of salt cannot be estimated. them on their guard against the dangers it portended. I But it is a point for Western farmers to think of. Let each

Resulting from this monopoly, and the most degrading one make the computation for himself, and consider what of its consequences, was the power to allowance and dis his annual loss is in cattle, hogs, sheep, and horses, for trict the country for the consumption of salt. The West-want of this condiment to their food; this medicine for ern country was districted and allowanced. All the wit-their health; this attraction against running wild; and then nesses prove the mortifying fact. Depots are established, estimate, if he can, the annual aggregate loss of the nine and agents appointed to supply each district. No com- Western States and Territories. petition is permitted. No competition can come, except

Mr. B. affirmed that the stint of salt was universal in from New Orleans, and that in the season of high water. the West; that it extended to all the operations of the farTo prevent the fullness of the supply from operating on mer; that it even extended to the pots and tables of the the highness of the price, the invention of dead wells” poor! He believed that such an instance of stint, for a was made, and a multitude of wells, rented from their necessary of life, did not exist among the negroes of the owners, have been permitted to stand idle. Nay, more; West India islands. He believed that those negroes rca further exertion of this invention has exhibited the pro-ceived from their masters, cruel as many of them were, digy of wells suppressed--of unborn wells stified in the a larger and better allowance of salt than the average of womb of the carth--by hiring and paying people not to Western farmers received from the inexorable monopodig for their salt water! The consequence of these enor- lists. He said the entire West was a stock-raising country, mities was, stint in the supply, excess in the price. The The farmers there, like the patriarchs of old, estimated country was starved for salt, and made to pay double, in their wealth, in a great degree, by the number of their many places quadruple its value. The domestic supply focks and herds. Before the invention of steamboats, this is not equal to one-fifth of the demand. The whole quan- rich vein of wealth was but slightly and imperfectly detity made in the United States, as proved by the returns veloped. Want of salt prevented its development. Comof the salt-makers themselves to the Secretary of the Trea- mon salt could not be had in sufficient quantity for salting sury, does not exceed five millions of bushels; while the the stock. Not a pound of alum salt could be had for consumption of the country would require thirty millions. curing bacon, preserving butter and cheese, and pickling The whole product of the West, including Western Penn- beef and pork. Foreign salt, of no kind, could enter the sylvania and the Holston works in Virginia, do not exceed vast and fertile regions of the West. Freight, up the Mistwo and a half millions of bushels, weighed bushels; each sissippi, in keel boats and barges, was seven or eight cents of which bushel, with a little packing and heaping, would a pound--across the Allegany mountains, in wagons, was comfortably establish itself in a half bushel measure.

as much or more; and then commenced, from hard necesMr. B. believed that the stock alone of the United sity and from absolute want of alum salt, the pernicious and States would require twenty millions of bushels. He bot- impoverishing practice of driving off beef cattle on the tomed his estimate upon the consumption in England. Hoof. But steamboats furnish the means of relieving this It was there proved that the stock, independent of the necessity, of supplying this want, and of terminating this draught horses, and hogs, which had not been included in pernicious practice. They are bringing salt from New the estimate, required twenty-two millions of bushels, Orleans at so low a freight, that, if the duty was off, the fifty-six pounds to the bushel, to supply them annually? price to the purchasers, in the central parts of the Great He felt mortified to know the number of stock in England, Valley, and that of the pure sca-made salt

, would not exfor he was speaking of England proper, and not know the cecd twenty-five cents per bushel; while, to those farmers number in the United States. The regretted that the re- who trade down the river, the price could not exceed turn of stock was not included in the census--in the cen- three picaillons. This cheap importation of pure salt-sus made by Statc authority at all events--and especially this unlimited means of importing it at the one thirtyin the West, where stock constituted so large a proportion second part of its former freight, was the greatest blessing of the wealth of the people. In the absence of accurate of all the great blessings which the wonderful invention information, he must proceed upon probable data; and, as of steamboats has conferred upon the West. It was the the United States was more populous than England, ten very thing which was lacking to give full development to times more extensive, and the keeping of stock more easy, her richest vein of wealth--richer than the mines of Mexihe would assume the stock census of England as furnish- co and Peru--her stock and provision trade! Providence, ing, not the criterion of numbers, but the data for calcu- of its infinite goodness, and to crown the blessings of the lation; the sheep of the United States being probably one. great West, sent this miraculous invention to give us that third, cattle and horses doubtful, and hogs far more nu- alone which was wanting, and never could have been got merous. Assuming this calculation for the relative num- without it; the pure muriate of soda; the natural crystalber of stock, the necessity for salt was greater: for the use lized salt; the native, unmixed product of the sun and of green food, and especially wild grass, was more usual in sea; the salt of Divine manufactory; as much superior to the United States; and this grass was more fresh, or free artificial fire-made salt as the works of God are superior from saltness, because, the United States being a continent, to the works of man! Upon the dispensation of such a and not an island, the saline dews which corrected the fresh- Providence, it was to have been expected that the Federal ness of the grass, did not extend to the interior States. Legislature, to whom the whole power of regulating foAssuming the sheep of the United States to be one-third reign commerce had been assigned by the States, whether of the English flock, to wit, ten millions of head, and al- wisely or not, time, and, above all, the continuance of the lowing to cach sheep the English supply, of half a pound salt tax, will show, it was to have been expected that the a week, which made half a bushel a year, and it resulted Federal Legislature (that part of it

, at all events, which that the sheep alone of the United States required five assumed to be the particular friends of domestic industry). millions of bushels of salt per annim! being just as much would have given all possible aid to the importation of as the domestic manufacturers made! so that if the popula- this Heaven-sent salt. A bounty in favor of the ships

« AnteriorContinuar »