Imagens das páginas
PDF

Feb. 20, 1837.]

Papers of Mr. Madion.

[SENATE.

ment, and to their publication in order to that preserva. tion. Let me call the attention of the honorable Senator to what has been repeatedly done, and has never been objected to. . When it was deemed proper to republish the journals of the old confederation, was that measure opposed on constitutional grounds? But why were those journals published? They were not the acts of an existing Congress, but of a pre-existing and different body. But still they were most precious and important, as constituting an integral part of our national his. tory and existence. The same remarks will apply to the secret journals of the convention, and to the diplomatic correspondence of the confederation. Where was our specific constitutional authority for that publication? Yet we authorized all these things, by the necessary appropriation of money for the purpose. And I now ask, on what ground the publication of the journal of the proceedings of the convention can be practically distinguished from the debates of that same convention. May we publish the mere naked detail of the acts of the con. vention, and shall we be debarred from purchasing and publishing a full and authentic report of its debates, taken by a member so distinguished, who devoted himself with soul and body to the object, and who, in order to accomplish it, imposed upon himself self-denial, the regimen of an anchorite, while he was engaged in the labor? The journal is important, I admit, but the debates are more important. The journal is a mere skeleton, a record of yeas and nays, and of resolutions agreed upon or rejected; a maze without a plan. It is this report of debates which gives us a clew to the labyrinth--which clothes the skeleton with flesh, and life, and substance. It is this which sheds light upon the acts themselves, and informs us of the grounds and principles on which they were adopted. Then there is another point in which this report has more nearly the character of the journal itself. It is well known that the official journal of the convention was a very imperfect record, and that there were in it chasms which had to be filled up by a resort to this very work, parts of which are actually incorporated into it, and have been printed with it. Let me prove this by reading to the Senate a short passage from the introduction to that journal, written by Mr. Adams, the Secretary of State, under whose superintendence the Journal of the Convention was prepared for publication. [Here Mr. R. read several extracts from that work.] In whatever aspect, them, we regard these manuscripts, whether as general muniments of our official and gov. ernmental history, or as a detailed account of the deliberations of that illustrious body which formed our constitution, they are of far higher importance than the mere naked journal itself, as showing in a most interesting manner the successive phases which the constitution as: sumed, and as affording us important light towards its practical construction at the present time. The honorable Senator from connecticut [Mr. Niles] appears to me to have misconceived the nature and scope of this resolution. With that astuteness which he well knows how to exhibit when there is occasion for it, he has brought forward a constitutional objection on this occasion which is not quite in harmony with that vigor. ous common sense which distinguishes him in so peculiar and eminent a degree. He argues that, though it might be very constitutional to purchase this work, if it were printed, it would be a violation of the constitution to purchase the manuscript with a view to publication. But my honorable friend is running ahead of the resolution in point of fact. ... It says nothing about publication; that is altogether a distinct and subsequent question, in regard to which there may be a diversity of opinion. If he thinks that this purchase will be made constitutional by depositing the manuscript in one of the vaults of the

Capitol, or by placing it in some of the recesses of the library, where it shall be viewed only by those who enjoy a particular privilege to examine it, why, it can so be done; but the resolution itself does not contain a single word beyond the naked purchase of the manuscript. I have indeed no doubt that a majority of the body would be in favor of the publication. But there is nothing of that in the resolution. There may be important reasons why Congress should wish to possess the original veritable record of these proceedings, in the autograph of one so intimately acquainted with them, and so closely connected with all that relates to the constitution as was Mr. Madison. It is often important not only that we have the words but the punctuation even of some of those resolutions; for the Senator from Connecticut knows very well that grave constitutional questions have turned upon the punctuation of some of the articles of that instrument. A change in a word may change the whole character of a work, and hence it is important that the original manuscript should be deposited in our archives. That is the object of the resolution. It was drawn up with care, and with express reference to this point. The object is that we may have these manuscripts to appeal to as a genuine and authentic record, and an authority verified by the highest sanctions. In addition to the appropriations which I have already mentioned, there was, a year or two ago, an appropriation made without objection, so far as I am informed, of $25,000, for the purchase of the Washington manuscripts, papers without any particular official utility, since the most important of them were already in the hands of an eminent literary gentleman, and in a course of publication. If that application of the public money could be justified, surely this cannot be objected to. The Senator from South Carolina thought it fit to express his profound regret that Mr. Madison had not made a different disposition of these manuscripts; that he had not bequeathed them to the nation. That is delicate ground, and one on which I shall not presume to tread. It does not, in my apprehension, belong to this forum. It is one of those questions which every man must settle for himself in the tribunal of his own bosom. The Senator, I am very sure, does not and cannot doubt that Mr. Madison was actuated by motives alone of the purest patriotism and benevolence. He could not doubt that these debates would eventually be given to the people of the United States. There is that in his will which contains the proof that when he was recording the deeds

, and sayings of that assembly of demi-gods (I had almost

called them,) he looked to the benefit of his country and of mankind. As to the bequests charged by Mr. Madison on the proceeds of these manuscripts, they were of a character to consecrate them to the interests of patriotism and benevolence. There were among them legacies to important literary institutions: one to the University of Virginia, of which he was the rector; another to the College of New Jersey, of which he was an alumnus; and another to a college in Pennsylvania; as well as some for the education of individuals nearly connected with him by the ties of blood and affection. These provisions of a warm and practical benevolence are an honor to his heart, and more indelible to his memory, in my humble judgment, than would have been an ostentatious gift of his debates to the people of the United States, as though they were objects of his charity. The nation, as the matter stands, are, in fact, his legataries. He has bequeathed to them the constitution, of which he was the chief founder and framer, and the enduring fruits of all his public toils and patriotic labors. Modest as was his great mind, and devoted to the last to the good of his §ountry, he could not feel as if he were under obligation SENATE.]

their welfare. I regret that there should on this occasion have been any comment here upon the private actions of the dead, Surely the testamentary arrangements of a man are, if any thing can be, matters which pertain exclusively, and in a sacred manner, to his own bosom. The personal bequests of such a man as Mr. Madison are not subjects for the jurisdiction or revision of the Senate. The Senator from South Carolina has also said that this proposition would never have been here, had the offer made to Mrs. Madison by the booksellers been sufficient to cover the legacies charged upon these manuscripts by her husband. Sir, I have been honored by some personal relations with Mrs. Madison; and I happen to know, that while that lady was prosecuting her so for the publication of these papers, the suggestion was made to her, from sources entitled to her highest respect, that the most proper disposition that could be made of them, the destination most becoming her, as well as the character of her venerated husband, would be to place them under the control of Congress. And could any thing be more proper? These precious manuscripts, more precious far than the books of the Sybils, are the authentic depository, and the only one in existence, of the deliberations of those glorious minds which gave birth to our constitution. Surely there is an obvious and peculiar propriety in offering them to the Congress of the United States. And, then, as to their utility to the country. Should the publication be made as a private concern by the book trade, there would be a less perfect guarantee that they were presented in a full, correct, and authentic

form. But place the manuscript itself in the archives

of the Government, and all will have been done which could be done to insure the preservation of the original, and the accuracy and fidelity the copies. Let me in conclusion say, and I regret that the remark is called for by the allusions of the Senator from South Carolina, that the amiable and distinguished lady who is the proprietor of this manuscript is here as no petitioner for charity. She has done what it became her to do as the relict of that great man whose papers were bequeathed to her to enshrine and imbody among the treasures of our country an authentic record of those solemn debates which issued in the formation of our happy and glorious form of government. Mr. CALHOUN explained. He had cast no censure on the legacies of Mr. Madison. On the contrary, he considered them as all very proper, and he must be allowed to say that he was not a little surprised at the nature and tone of the remarks of the Senator from Virginia. That which had called forth the expression of his regret had been simply this: that the legacies charged on the avails of these manuscripts should have had the effect of , bringing this application before congress. What he had said was, that if an arrangement could have been made with the booksellers that would have covered those legacies, this application never would have been made; and there was nothing in the language of the will to show the contrary. Mr. C., after a brief recapitulation of the ground he had taken, concluded by observing that not one of the cases quoted by the Senator from Virginia availed in the least against the constitutional ob. jection he had advanced; nor had he said any thing which any friend of Mrs. Madison had the least right to take exception to. Mr. 91-AY said that it had been his intention to offer some remarks on this resolution; but so much time had already been occupied, and that remaining to the Senate was o.o.o.us, that he should content himself with merely .# *the should vote for the resolution with the greatest readiness and pleasure, that it involved no

Choctaw Land Bill—Reduction of the Tariff.

[FER. 21, 1837.

violation whatever of the constitutional authority of Congress, while it sulfilled at the same time a sacred duty to the country, to the Congress itself, and to the memory of a man the most distinguished, with a single exception, of the patriots of the Revolution. The question on the passage of the resolution was then decided by the following vote: YEAs–Messrs. Bayard, Benton, Black, Brown, Bu. chanan, Clay, Clayton, Crittenden, Cuthbert, Fulton, Grundy, Hendricks, Kent, Linn, Lyon, McKean, Mouton, Norvell, Parker, Preston, Rives, Robbins, Robinson, Southard, Spence, Strange, Tallmadge, Walker, Wall, Webster, White, Wright——32. NAys--Messrs. Calhoun, Davis, Hubbard, King of Alabama, Knight, Moore, Morris, Nicholas, Niles, Page, Prentiss, Ruggles, Swift, Tipton--14. So the resolution was passed, and sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence. Mr., WRIGHT, pursuant to notice given on Saturday, moved to take up the bill for the reduction of the tariff. Mr. BAYARD pressed for the resumption of the Choctaw land bill, as the unfinished business. The question being taken on Mr. Waight's motion, it was negatived: Ayes 13, noes not counted.

CIHOCTAW LAND BILL.

The Senate then resumed the consideration of the bill for confirming certain contingent locations of land in the State of Mississippi, &c.— The question being on Mr. BLAck's amendment, to strike out certain sections of the bill, and substitute others therefor. After some remarks from Mr. White, which he concluded by reading an amendment he intended to move as a substitute for the whole bill, Mr. BLACK consented to withdraw his amendment. Mr. WHITE thereupon moved his substitute for the whole bill, which proposes a board of commissioners to examine the claim of each Choctaw Indian, and make a particular report of all the facts to Congress at its next session. Mr. BAYARD moved an amendment to it, which, aster a desultory conversation, was withdrawn. Mr. White's substitute was thereupon agreed to, the blanks filled with $3,000 as salary for each commissioner: $2,000 for the district attorney, $1,500 for a clerk, and the bill limited to the 1st of March, 1838. It was then reported to the Senate, and ordered to be engrossed for a third reading. After taking up and disposing of several other bills, The Senate went into executive business, and afterwards adjourned.

TUEs DAY, FEBRUARY 21.

Mr. HUBBARD presented the credentials of the Hon. FRANKLIN PIRR ce, elected United States Senator from New Hampshire, for six years from the 3d of March next.

REDUCTION OF THE TARIFF.

After transacting the usual morning business,

Mr. WRIGHT moved to take up the bill reducing duties on certain imported articles.

Mr. CLAY said, before voting on this motion, he wished to inquire of the Senator whether it was intended that the bill should pass in its present shape, or that protected articles should be stricken from it. He believed the Senate generally would agree to a reduction of the duties on all except protected articles.

Mr. WRIGHT said it was impossible to answer this question. He merely wished the Senate to take up the bill, and act upon it as they should think proper. He

had no instructious stom the committee, and he was not FER. 21, 1837.]

Reduction of the Tariff.

[SENATE.

prepared himself to move to strike out any part of the bill. . Mr. CALHOUN said he believed there would be no dispute about the reduction on a large proportion of the articles; the others would be indicated by the discussion on the bill. Mr. WALKER said he should vote against the motion to take up the bill, because he hoped the Senate would take up to-day the subject of recognising the independence of Texas. Mr. CALHOUN preferred to try first the question on Mr. Warght's motion; and, if that should fail, the question on Texas might then be tried. Mr. WRIGHT said if the subject was doubtful in the minds of a majority of the Senate, he was not disposed to worry the body. He would regard the refusal to take up the bill now as amounting to a refusal to act upon it at the present session. He would, therefore, ask for the yeas and nays on the question; which were ordered. Mr. CLAY said he should certainly vote for taking up the bill now, after what Mr. W. had said, because a bill passed the Senate at the last session for reducing the du- ties on all the articles enumerated in this bill, with three or four exceptions. He wished, moreover, to know what was the intention of Mr. W. and other Senators on this subject, and to ascertain whether they really intended to preserve the general policy of the compromise. Mr. WEBSTER said he considered it as very important that the bill should be taken up. He deemed it the indispensable duty of Congress to reduce the tariff so far as it could be done without interfering with protected articles. Mr. QALHOUN, also, urged the importance of taking up the bill now, and hastening its progress. . Mr. BUCHANAN said the Legislature of Pennsylvania had instructed him and his colleague on this subject; and although the instructions had not yet arrived, he knew this morning that they had passed, and that they instructed them to vote against any reduction of the tariff as it was established in March, 1833, on the principle that to touch this subject at all might endanger their interests, Mr. B, confessed, though he held the opinions of the Legislature in high respect, that, had it not been for these instructions, he should have voted to take off the duties entirely, so far as it would not interfere with protection, and would not violate the compromise act; and he would have done it on the principle of throwing useless lumber overboard, for the purpose of saving the valuable part of the cargo. But he now felt bound to act according to his instructions, and would certainly bow to them with the utmost deference and respect. Mr. QLAY said he hardly thought the Legislature of Pennsylvania had gone so far as the Senator supposed. The compromise act had expressly provided that, if there should be any deficiency in the revenue, it should be made up by increasing the duty on articles below 20 per cent. and, on the other hand, if there should be an excess of revenue, it should be remedied by a reduction on articles below 20 per cent.; so that, with the exception of three or four articles, this bill was in entire accordance, with the compromise act. And, so far from injuring the manufacturing interest, Mr. C. believed it would be beneficial to it. They therefore ought not to hesitate to take up the bill, and pass those parts of it which would not interfere with protection. Mr. BUCHANAN said he was very much indebted to the gentleman for his commentary on Mr. B's instructions; but, under his favor, he would construe them for himself. [Mr. B. here read the instructions, which were clear, explicit, and imperative. The question on taking up the bill was now tried, and carried in the affirmatve, as follows: Yeas--Messrs. Bayard, Benton, Black, Brown, Cal

houn, Clay, Clayton, Cuthbert, Davis, Ewing of Illinois, Fulton, Grundy, Hendricks, Hubbard, King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Knight, Linn, Lyon, Moore, Morris, Nicholas, Norvell, Page, Parker, Prentiss, Preston, Rives, Robinson, Southard, Strange, Swift, Tallmadge, Tomlinson, Walker, Wall, Webster, Wright—-38. NAYs--Messrs. Buchanan, Kent, McKean, Robbins, Sevier, Spence, Tipton–7. Mr. W RIGHT laid before the Senate a letter from Ellicott & Co., on the subject of the manufacture of chemicals, the small amount of duty that would be reduced, and the great injury inflicted on our own establishments, by making free of duty the articles of aquafortis, muriatic acid, bichromate of potash, chromate of potash, prussiate of potash, tartaric acid, Prussian blue, calomel, sulphate of magnesia, sulphate of quinine, Rochelle salts, and tartar emetic. Mr. WEBSTER, after a few brief remarks on the impropriety of taking off the duty on these articles without further information, moved to strike them out of the bill. [The bill proposes to admit them free of duty.] Mr. SEVIER wished to except the articles of calomel, quinine, and salts, as being the only ones in which his constituents had an interest; they took large quantities of them. After a short debate, in which Messrs. KNIGHT, KENT, DAVIS, LINN, CLAY, BUCHANAN, SEVIER, and CALHOUN, took part, the question was put on striking out the residue of these articles, with the exception of calomel, salts, and quinine, and agreed to. The question being put separately on striking out these, (i. e. retaining the present duty upon them,) it was decided in the negative, as follows: YEAs—Messrs. Bayard, Black, Buchanan, Clay, Crittenden, Davis, Ewing of Illinois, Kent, Knight, McKean, Norvell, Prentiss, Robbins, Southard, Swift, Tallmadge, Tomlinson, Wall, Webster——19. NAYs--Messrs. Benton, Brown, Calhoun, Clayton, Cuthbert, Fulton, Grundy, King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Linn, Lyon, Nicholas, Niles, Page, Parker, Preston, Rives, Robinson, Sevier, Spence, Strange, Tipton, Walker, Wright—24. So they were retained in the bill as free of duty. Mr. DAVIS moved to strike out the article of worsted yarn, so as thereby to retain the present protecting duty on that article. He stated that the present duty fixed by law was twenty per cent., and he had letters in his possession to prove that there were large manufacturing establishments, in which great amounts of capital had been embarked in the making of worsted yarn. An important discovery in the manner of combing wool had enabled this branch of manufactures to flourish under the protecting duty of twenty per cent. Large investments had, in consequence, been made, in the expectation that that protection would not be withdrawn. The article produced was used principally for the warp in carpeting. The individuals concerned represented that, if the present duty should remain undisturbed till the year 1842, they should after that be enabled to maintain their ground under the general reduction then proposed. Mr. D. said that this was an interest of some importance to the country, and one which he considered as entitled to protection. If the duty under which it had grown up should now at once be taken off, he feared that it would suffer great injury, if not entire destruction. He did not know that even under the protection it had enjoyed it would have been able to realize any profit, or even to maintain its ground at all, had it not been for a great improvement which had recently been discovered in the process of wool combing. Mr. D. sent to the Secretary’s table one of the letters which he had received on this subject, and which was accordingly read to the Senate.

SENATE.]

Reduction of the Tariff.

[Fen. 21, 1837.

Mr. CUTHBERT wished to ask one question, and it was this ; was it the design of gentlemen to pursue the protective system as it now stood, or to place new articles under protection? A short time ago, this article of worsted yarn was not among the protected articles at all; but it having been asserted that the article could be made in this country, this duty of twenty per cent. had been imposed as a protection. He desired to know what was the construction which Senators attached to the compromise act. Was the construction this: that whenever an article, which had been among those protected, could be made here, it was to be protected as of course? Was this the manner in which the tariff was to be reduced In this case, the production of a single letter from an individual interested in this manufacture seemed to be thought sufficient to produce the impression that its protection ought to be continued. If this course was to be sanctioned, the protective system would not only continue in all the strength it now possessed, but would even be extended. It was only to bring forward a single letter, to show that an ar. ticle could be made in this country, and it was to be protected of course. As to this particular article of worsted yarn, the honorable Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. Davis] was no doubt much better acquainted with it than Mr. C. There was one point on which he wished to be informed: were all articles manufactured from worsted yarn at present imported free of duty! Mr. DAVIS replied that a part were, but not all. Mr. CUTHBERT then observed that, if Congress protected worsted yarn, it would of course protect articles made from worsted yarn. Mr. PRESTON inquired of the chairman of the Committee on Finance, what was the present duty on worsted yarn? Mr. WRIGHT replied that the duty now fixed by law was 20 per cent. ad valorem. The amount imported came to $261,626, on which the duty paid was $52,325. Mr. W. added that it had been the understanding of the Committee on Finance that worsted stuff goods of all sorts were free of duty, and they saw no sufficient reason why worsted yarn should pay a duty, while goods manufactured from it paid none; and hence (the general object being to reduce the revenue) the committee had inserted worsted yarn among the articles which it was proposed to make free. Mr. PRESTON was opposed to reducing the duties on any article included within the provisions of the compromise. If circumstances rendered a reduction of the revenue indispensable, it should be made on articles not comprehended in that arrangement. He was opposed to any departure from this principle in the present bill. Let the enumerated articles be protected as in the com. promise act. In that he should fully acquiesce; but when the duty was less than 20 per cent. he could not agree to it; and if a new enumeration of protected articles was to be made, he should be utterly opposed to it. He should vote against striking out this article from the bill. Let the committee do what they would, the reduction would be scarce sufficient to bring down the revenue to the wants of the Government. But as this article paid a duty, of 59,000 dollars, making it free will produce a considerable reduction. Mr. WRIGHT said that the general object sought by the Committee on Finance, in reporting this bill, was to reduce the revenue as far as possible in conformity with the principles of the compromise. The fourth section of the compromise bill enumerated certain articles which were .#. of duty; in addition to those included in the tariff, law; among which were bleached and unbleached linen, worsted stuff - - goods, and manufactures of silk o ..., Mr. W. had been under the impression that this clause made free in goods in which

worsted composed the greater part. He was told that the present article of worsted yarn was chiefly employed in the manufacture of carpets; that the construction at the custom-house had been that it was not included among the free articles. Mr. W. was unacquainted with the details of the subject, and had no personal knowledge of the matter. It appeared to him, however, that, notwithstanding there might exist a pretty strong claim on the part of a single manufacture, the article ought not to be stricken out, but should be free from duty, like the goods made from it. Mr. DAVIS said he had but little to add. He was aware that worsted stuff goods were free of duty, but there had a class of them been introduced which were composed in part of worsted and in part of wool, which were not free, but paid a duty. The chief object for which this worsted yarn was manufactured was the warp in the manufacture of carpets. The carpet manufacture had long been established in this country, and it prevailed extensively in several of the states. Congress, for its protection, had imposed a heavy square-yard duty. Worsted yarn paid a duty of 20 per cent., and he did not know why it was not as fair an object of protection as if it paid 40. He could not see that it was a good reason for overthrowing a particular branch of manufactures, that the duty upon it was but small. He admitted that this manufacture had been lately prosecuted with new vigor; but neither could he perceive that this was a reason why it should be no longer protected. He was not for introducing a new set of protected articles; but if the Senate should think that, in consistency with the principles of the compromise, they could retain the exist: ing duty on this manufacture of worsted yarn, he should be happy. Mr. GRUNDY observed that this matter had been treated by some gentlemen as comparatively unimportant; but to him, in the attitude in which he stood, it was a matter of great import. He had voted for the compromise act, and had personally contributed to its passage, as much perhaps as any other member of the Senate; and he considered that its provisions formed the great bulwarks both of the manufacturing and the agricultural interests. He wished, if it were possible, that they might remain undisturbed; and if gentlemen were resolved to break through the arrangements then made, by taking off the duties then agreed upon, they ought to remember that it is a rule which will work both ways. lf one side was to be absolved from the agreement, the other side would claim to be absolved also; and thus the whole subject of the protecting system would again be thrown open. It was the understanding of those who advocated the compromise bill that articles paying a duty of 20 per cent. were to remain undisturbed, while in regard to those paying less than 20 per cent. the action of Congress was to be left free, and the duties might be raised or diminished, according as the revenue of the country should prove defective or redundant. Mr. DAVIS here stated that the article of worsted yarn was not one of those under 20 per cent. It paid 20 per cent., and so was included in the compromise. Mr. GRUNDY then said that he should be against taking off the duty. As long as there was a manufacture in the United States which required protection, he was against reducing the duties fixed for the compromise, until the experiment had been fully made of reducing the revenue in some other mode. But if, after every practicable experiment, it should be found that the rev. enue could not be reduced without touching these articles also, he should then, to avoid a greater evil, reluctantly yield his assent. . He hoped, as each article in this bill came up successively for discussion, the chairman of the Committee on Finance would apprize the Senate whether it did or did not pay a duty of 20 per cent, or Feb. 21, 1837.]

more, as Mr. G's vote would in all cases be governed by that consideration. If the article paid less than 20 per cent., he would vote to make it free; but if not, he would vote to retain the duty. The question being now taken on striking out the article (worsted yarn) from the list of those which were to be made free of duty, it was carried: Ayes 23. So the article was stricken out. Mr. DAVIS moved to strike out from the list of free articles that of olive oil. Mr. D. stated that this article, at present, paid a duty of twenty cents per gallon. There had been a discussion of considerable length, and a similar motion, at a former session. The duty had been reduced, but, after consideration, the House of Representatives had restored it again, lest the reduction might interfere with the whaling interest. Mr. D. said he hoped it might turn out, on a full examination, that the present duty would bear reduction, but, as at present informed, he was not authorized to say that such was the case; and, to avoid all danger of injury to the important interests involved in the whale fishery, he had judged it proper to move to strike this article out of the bill. The duty upon it amounted to more than 20 per cent. Mr. NILES observed that the principle which had been advanced in the course of this debate, that all duties below twenty per cent. might be stricken out, as not being embraced in the compromise, was of all others the most unjust, and even preposterous. Were all interests to be disregarded, and wantonly destroyed, because they were not included in the compromise act? There existed many interests in the country whose protecting duty was below twenty per cent., which were vastly more entitled to the favorable notice of the Government than some others, which enjoyed a far higher protection. He believed that Congress ought to hesitate to reduce the duties, from a mere apprehension of a surplus in the Treasury, in cases where a small duty operated as a complete protection. The complaint which had roused the South to indignation was not directed against these small duties, but against that great mountain of enormous imposts which was laid by Congress in 1824 and 1828. But olive oil enjoyed a protection of more than twenty per cent., and therefore some gentlemen argued that it ought not to be included in this bill. But would the removal of the duty from this article affect any other interest which had a just claim for protection? The Senator from Massachusetts had argued that the retaining of this duty would be very beneficial to another article. This was certainly going a great way. Whale oil was entirely a different interest; and it was extending the protective principle further than it had ever before been proposed, to lay a tax on one article in order to protect another. If olive oil was produced in this country, he should then be in favor of protecting it by a duty. But he could not consent to tax olive oil, with a view to protect the whale fishery. Mr. DAVIS said he hardly knew whether the Senator from Connecticut aimed his remarks at him, in what he said respecting a duty being retained because it was over twenty per cent. Mr. D. had said no such thing. He had not argued that this article should be stricken out because the duty upon it exceeded twenty per cent., but he had stated such to be the fact, for the information of the Senate, and that they might be informed of the true ground on which they were proceeding. He concurred with the Senator from Connecticut in the belief that there were many articles, the duty on which was below twenty per cent., which deserved very careful consideration. He was aware, too, that the last argument which had been urged by that gentleman was of. ten well sounded, but it was not always true; and in this case it did so happen that both whale and olive oil were

[blocks in formation]

extensively used in the same way—in lamps, for example, and in many operations of manufactures. At the time the compromise act was passed, the case of this article had been thoroughly examined, and the House of Rep. resentatives had in consequence reversed its action, and raised the duty after having reduced it. Mr. D. was as anxious as any other gentleman to remove this duty, if it could be done with safety and propriety; but he was not now in possession of such information as would warrant him to believe that it could. Mr. W RIGHT said that the remarks of the Senator from Connecticut seemed to call upon him for a word of explanation. The Senator misunderstood the principle on which the Committee on Finance had proceeded in constructing this bill. It was their desire carefully to guard as well those interests which were covered by duties below twenty per cent. as above; but they felt themselves more at liberty to go into an examination where the duty was under twenty per cent, and on articles protected. It was now said, and Mr. W. was not prepared to contradict the assertion, that the removal of the duty on olive oil might prove injurious to the whaling interest. The committee certainly had no disposition to interfere with that important branch of industry. The article of whalebone paid no more than 123 per cent., yet they had abstained from inserting that in the bill, because it was connected with the whale fishery. Mr. W. considered the whaling interest as one of all others the most clearly deserving the protection of the Government. The nation was deeply interested in it, as a school for our seamen and a nursery for the navy. They did not understand that rescinding the duty on olive oil would at all affect this interest; and Mr. W. regretted that neither himself nor the Senator from Massachusetts was in possession of more distinct information on the subject. Mr. CUTHBERT said that if the Senator from Massachusetts could present to the Senate information which would enlighten them on this subject, he should be glad if he would do so. Was it a fact that the use of olive oil did compete with the interests of the whale fishery? At the first blush he should say it could not be so. The United States raise no olive trees, and the two articles of whale oil and olive oil were certainly very difserent from each other. One was a fine article of use in diet, while the other was quite the reverse. If no further information was laid before the Senate, he should think that olive oil ought not to be stricken out of the bill; but if further information should show that to make it a free article would injure the whaling interest, then the duty ought not to be reduced. Some Senators contended that when the duty was above twenty per cent. it must not be touched; others argued that when it was below twenty per cent. it was wrong to interfere with it. Thus, it was evident that the whole attempt to reduce the revenue would prove futile. There was to be no honest, sincere, and strenuous effort at reduction. While, on the one hand, it was pleaded that the Senate must not reduce the tariff, because of the compromise of 1833, he heard nothing of any pledge that the tariff was not to be augmented, because of the compromisc. There was evidently gross partiality in the manner in which the compromise was to be construed. As to this article of olive oil, he should like to receive some further information. - Mr. DAVIS said that he would cheerfully give such information as he possessed. Whale oil was commonly used in lamps, and in some processes of the manufacture of woollen goods, while, for both purposes, olive oil was likewise employed. There were many other uses for oil, in which both kinds were not equally proper. Olive oil, for instance, was used in the manufacture of fine soap, while whale oil would not answer for that

« AnteriorContinuar »