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Reduction of the Tariff.
[FEB. 24, 1837,
The honorable member seemed to be in the habit of framing remarks for others, and then commenting upon them. Mr. W. had expressly declared that if he thought the interest of the poor would be promoted by reducing this tax, he would vote for its reduction; and that he was opposed to it only because he believed that the true interest of that class and of every other class in the community required that the Government should keep its hands off from the subject entirely. Mr. W. had again and again declared that he did not mean to advocate the cause of the rich in opposing this reduction, because he believed that keeping on the tax would eventually bring down the price of the article to the poor. The member did not meet this argument. He did not contradict it, but stalked around it while he talked about monopolies, and the influence of rich men on the legislation of Congress. Mr. W. did not doubt that the object at which the Senator meant to aim was to make coal cheap; and did he not understand that this too was the aim of Mr. W. And how, then, could he impute to him the design to protect the capitalist, in derogation of the laborer; to advance wealth and disregard numbers? He hoped they should all in future endeavor to state each other's arguments with at least some degree of fairness. Coal was a necessary of life to all; to the poor as well as to the rich. The object to be attained was to get it as cheap as possible. The existing state of things had grown up under laws passed fifteen years ago; and the question was, whether, under that state of things, the proposition of the member from Connecticut would, in its practical result, lower the market price of this species of fuel. The member thought it would. Mr. W. thought otherwise, and had given reasons for this opinion, which he hoped were not altogether contemptible, and such as did not rightfully expose him to the charge of advocating the interests of wealth against labor. His argument had been briefly this: Here was a large capital actually invested in roads, canals, and machinery, the effect of which would, in a short time, make coal abundant, and thereby make it cheap; while, in the meanwhile, the foreign supply was not wholly excluded, and enough would be imported by competition to keep down the price. The honorable member thought that Congress, by taking off this tax, would give the exclusive power of keeping up the price to American producers. Mr. W. differed in opinion. He thought that, by taking off this tax, they would give that power to British producers, and make our citizens the victims of their extortions. Did not rich men as well as poor make use of coal as fuel? Was it not their interest to have fuel cheap as well as the interest of every body else? Ah, but the member was for the protection of labor. Very true. And Mr. W. insisted that the pro. tective policy of the United States was aimed point blank at the protection of labor. Did not the poor of our cities warm themselves over coal fires? What glowing pictures, or rather what shivering pictures of suffering had been presented to the Senate in the eloquent descrip. tiens (if he thought them eloquent) of the honorable gentleman from South Carolina. But was not the laboring class in our cities the very first who received the pro. tection of this Government? The first demand of a constitution was for their protection. It had been the operatives spread along the Atlantic coast whose voices brought, the constitution into being. It was not the yoices of Hancock, of Adams, but of Paul Revier and his artisans, which most efficiently advocated the move ment for independence. It was the pouring in of a flood of o manufactures that gave the first impulse to. wo . on of *.constitution for our own proteco ** the labor of our whole country been pro under it to this day? Had not the laboring
classes of the United States their life, and breath, and
being, under that instrument? Take off the protection which it extended to the hatters, and the shoemakers, and the whole class of mechanics who worked in leather, and see what would be the result. Go to the gentle. man's own State, and take off the duty on tin ware, and he might possibly hear the tinkling of that argument. Three cents on every coffee pot! What would the member say to that? But it became enlightened legislators to take a differ. ent view of this subject. The true way to protect the poor was to protect their labor. Give them work to protect their earnings; that was the way to benefit the poor. Our artisans, he repeated it, were the first to be protected by the constitution. The protection extended under our laws to capital was as nothing to that which was given to labor; and so it should be. Since, in the year 1824, I stood upon this ground, I have retained the same position, and there I mean to stand. The free labor of the United States deserves to be protected; and, so far as any efforts of mine can go, it shall be. The gentleman from Connecticut tells us that coal is a bounty of Providence; that our mountains are full of it; that we have only to take hold of what God has given us. Well, sir, I am for protecting the man who does take hold of it; who bores the rock; who penetrates the mountain; who excavates the mine, and, by his assiduous labor, puts us into the practical possession of this bounty of Providence. It is not wealth while it lies in the mountain; it is human labor which brings it out and makes it wealth. I am for protecting that poor laborer whose brawny arms thus enrich the State. I am for providing him with cheap fuel, that he may warm himself and his wife and children. I observe that the very next item in the bill is one connected with the woollen factories in Connecticut. Will the honorable member go against all protecting principles? Will he talk to us on that item as he has done on this? Does not the poor man wear a cloth coat? Does he not want a great coat in cold weather? And is not that cloth taxed, and taxed for the benefit of Connecticut, and for the capitalists of Connecticut? Is cloth no necessary of life? Will the member draw us as fine a picture of the poor man shivering for want of a great coat of Connecticut cloth, as for want of a fire of Pennsylvania coal? Sir, the man who catches hold of a little idea here and a little idea there, and holds these out to us to show that a great line of national policy is unjust, takes a view, in my apprehension, too little comprehensive. We must not tax the fuel with which the poor man warms himself, because it is a necessary of life; and pray what will the honorable member do with bread? Is not that a necessary of life? and will any man here rise in his place, and move to take off the duty on wheat' Are not thousands of bushels imported from Europe? Does not the poor man pay the tax on it? And again I ask, will the honorable member bring in a bill to take off the duty on wheat? There is a duty on brown sugar, will he move to repeal that? If he will comprehend all the items included under the same principle of economy, it will show at least some consistency. But to se. lect this article of coal, and have us make it free because it is a necessary of life, while he advocates a tax on other things equally necessary, is to act with no consistency at all. “I know very well that many of the citizens of Boston have applied to have this tax diminished; and if I thought it could with propriety be done, I would cheerfully do it. ... Some petitions, too, have been presented from one of our fishing towns; but they ought to remember that all bounties on the fisheries, as well as this duty on coal, rest upon one great basis of mutual concession for the protection of labor, and for the benefit especially of the operative classes of society. And whoever says that this is a system which goes for capital against the Feb. 24, 1837.]
Reduction of the Tariff.
poor, misrepresents its advocates, and perverts the whole matter, from A to Z. There are many other views which belong to the subject, but I will not now prosecute the argument. My object is to make coal cheap—permanently cheap; cheap to the poor man as well as the rich man; and to that end we shall arrive, if the laws are suffered to take their course. But to meddle with them, in the existing state of things, is the very worst thing that can be done either for poor or rich. Mr. BUCHANAN said he had not intended to add another word; indeed, after what had fallen from the Senator from Massachusetts, it would be labor lost. But he did not choose that his remarks should be misapprehended; that they would be misrepresented by the Senator from South Carolina, [Mr. PREston, he did not for a morment imagine. He had made no professions of being either a “high” or a “low” tariff man; nor had he said that the was “irreclaimably tariff.” [Mir. PREstox explained. He had not stated that the honorable Senator from Pennsylvania had said so; that was merely the statement of Mr. P's own apprehension of the fact.] The Senator had further said that Mr. B. was “permitted” to get up here and state the principles he held in relation to the tariff. Permitted! Permitted by whom? [Mr. PREston again rose to explain. He had, as he supposed, fully explained in what sense he meant to be understood. There were certain questions on which those who belonged to the same political party were permitted, by a general understanding and concert of that party, to hold different and even opposite sentiments, without thereby forfeiting their connexion with the party, or good standing in it. more than this. He understood the tariff to present one of these open questions. The phrase was common in parliamentary usage, and well understood. He had used it in no personal or offensive sense.) Mr. Buch ANAN resumed. He had not understood the honorable Senator to mean to apply it in a sense personally offensive. Yet it was very grating to the ear to hear the Senator from South Carolina rise in his place and declare that Senators from Virginia, New York, and Pennsylvania, were permitted to advocate contrary doctrines on the subject of the protective policy of the country. Mr. B. was “permitted” by no man to utter his sentiments on that floor. He asked the “permission” of no party or individual to advocate the interests of his State on the floor of the Senate. He knew of no such party trammels. The party to which he belonged were not so drilled. He pursued his own course, according to the dictates of his own judgment. The Senator from South Carolina occupied a singular position. He rose up and attacked the duty on imported coal, and persua. ded all others to vote against it; and yet held it his duty, while looking one way, to row another. Of what did the honorable Senator complain in this matter? Was there any attempt to disturb the compromise? Was this item of coal in the bill reported by the Committee on Finance? So far as that bill went, was it not a boon to the South? If Northern Senators chose to reduce the taxes, what cause of offence was this to gentlemen from the South? When the attempt should be made to violate the compromise, then it would be time enough for them to complain. What he had said was this: That, from the debates in the Legislature of Pennsylvania, they seemed disposed, in good faith, to try the effect of a compliance with the compromise of 1833. They would not, at all events, be the first to interfere with it. Many of them did believe that a duty of twenty per cent., when taken in connexion with cash payments and the system of valuation at our own ports, would, in practice, prove
He meant nothing
a sufficient protection to the manufacturing interest. However, he should not now launch into a tariff discussion. This was not the proper time or the fit occasion for doing so. When the time did arrive, he would, with all the frankness for which he hoped he had some credit with the Senate, state what were his views on that subject. He had intended to have added some other remarks, but it was growing late, and he would forbear. Mr. PRESTON followed, in fuller explanation of what he had before said as to the tariff being an open question, and in regard to the obligation imposed by the compromise act. Mr. NILES repelled the charge made against him by the Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. WEastER, ) of having misrepresented him. . He said that the honorable Senator had taken the liberty to charge him with having misstated his remarks; and he had made the charge in such a manner as to show that he considered he had been intentionally misrepresented. The gentleman had said that he (Mr. N.) was in the habit of misrepresenting the remarks of others. He would not stop to inquire whether a charge like this was parliamentary or decorous, as it was his intention to repel it as unjust and untrue. He wished that Senator to understand, once for all, that he (Mr. N.) was not in the habit of misstating or misrepresenting his remarks, or those of any other member of the body; neither had he been complained of in this respect by any one but the Senator himself. He was as liable to misunderstand what was said by others as any one; but he was incapable of intentionally misstating their remarks. It seemed that he misunderstood the Senator on this occasion, although he had listened very attentively to his remarks, and could not be justly charged even with inattention. He understood the Senator to say that the poor had no interest in this question; and when he rose to explain, he understood him to say that they had not much interest; but it appears he was mistaken in both instances. He did not perceive, however, that the mistake was of much conseguence; for whether the Senator, considered that the poor and laboring classes had much interest or no interest in the subject, his remarks went to prove that their interest consisted in maintaining the present high rate of duty. The gentleman and himself were directly opposed on this point, as he believed that the whole community were interested in the reduction of the duty on coal, and especially the laboring classes, who were less able to bear the burdens of the present exorbitant prices of fuel. If the poor have a deep interest in this question, how is their interest to be promoted by a tax of fifty per cent. on fuel? Is that calculated to bring down the price? or does their interest consist in keeping up the price? He did not understand this matter, and could not learn from the Senator's remarks how he proposes to advance the interests of the poor. If, as the Senator asserts, all our tariff laws have had a direct tendency to benefit labor, he rejoiced at it; but if such was the case, it did not prove that those laws had been passed for that purpose; and we all know that it was not those interested in labor who had petitioned for them; it was not from their influence, or a regard to their rights, that the tariff system had been adopted. No, sir; it was the interests of capitalists and capital which had originated and sustained the tariff system; and if labor had been benefited, it was only an incidental consequence. who are they (said Mr. N.) that hang around the halls of legislation, seeking its aid, asking for special and partial laws? Who are they that apply for acts of incorporation, conferring special privileges, to favor particular interests—privileges calculated to give to capital ar. tificial and factitious advantages? Are they not those who control capital? By whose influence was it that a law was forced
Reduction of the Tariff. (FER. 24, 1837.
he would there find the disagreement greater and more
through Congress, soon after the close of the last war, refunding to importers the double duties which had been imposed to carry on the war, when it was weii known that those duties had been charged upon the goods, and the whole amount, with large profits besides, had been received in their sales? Was it not the capitalists, the wealthy importers? This partial and unjust law of Congress legislated fortunes into the pockets of hundreds; he knew of some who had been made independent by it. Sir, (said Mr. N.,) it is in vain to deny that all the legislation of Congress, from the foundation of the Government to this day, which has affected the interests of the country, whether commercial or manufacturing, las been influenced by those who control the capital of the country. Mr. N. said he did not claim to be the special advocate of the interests of the poor and the laboring class; he claimed no more sympathy with the poor than any other Senator felt or ought to feel, not excepting the Senator from Massachusetts. He had no motive, no de- himself for adhering to the compromise; and therefore, sign, in connecting himself with their interests. He had according to his own reasoning, he must also be an ultra not dragged them into this debate; he had spoken of them tariff man. Or are we to understand that an adherence no further than they were directly involved in the to the compromise proves one member to be an ultra question. He had referred to facts, because they be. tariff man, and another an ultra anti-tariff man? It was longed to the subject. It was a truth which had not been a strange kind of logic which, from the same premises, and could not be controverted, that the coal duty, so should lead to opposite conclusions. There must be a far as it operated to keep up the price of fuel, bore with cabalistical potency in the compromise act, which can double severity upon the poor, who were compelled for convert nulifying anti-tariffites into ultra tariff men. three winters past to purchase fuel at a price one hun- Mr. N. said, in regard to what the Senator had said dred per cent. higher than the wealthy citizens, who of himself and several of his friends, one of the gentlewere able to lay in a supply in the summer, when the men [Mr. Buchanas] had already put himself, right; price was down. and the other two [Mr. Rives and Mr. Wnisat) were Mr. N. said that, being up, he had a word to say to the abundantly able to defend themselves, and had no occahonorable Senator from South Carolina, [Mr. Pn Estos.] sion for his assistance; and in relation to himself, he had no That Senator, whose own situation in relation to the bill particular reason to complain of the position which the before the Senate appeared to be not a little embarras- Senator had assigned to him. He was a moderate tariff sing or perplexed, had assumed upon himself the task man, decidedly opposed to a high tariff, yet a firm of assigning to several of the friends of the administra- friend of the policy of protecting all the important intion, including himself, their positions in relation to the terests of the country, so far as it could be done by a tariff and the Executive; and having given each of us wise and discreet discrimination in the adjustment of the such a position as suited himself, he affects to discover duties which were required for the purposes of revenue. something wonderfully strange and marvellous in the But what he did object to, and what had surprised him matter. The Senator said that the chairman of the Com-' much, was, that he and his friends should have their mittee on Foreign Relations [Mr. Buch as AN] was an positions assigned to them in regard to the tariff, by * open, ultra, uncompromising tariff man, and believed in gentleman who himself occupied so equivocal a position, the binding force of the compromise of 1833; that the and who evidently did not know what his own Position chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs [Mr. was. Rivks] was an avowed, irreclaimable anti-tariff man, i Mr. N. said he had listened with attention to the clo: willing to disregard the compromise; that the chairman quent speech which the Senator had made on this bill of the Committee on Finance, [Mr. Waight,) who had the other day, and had anxiously sought to discover on reported the present bill, although representing a man- which side of the question he was, and to what conclu. ufacturing State, and the one which contributed to fix sion, after all his wandering, he would finally come; but on the country that act of abominations, the tariff of he had been unable to satisfy himself. The Senator o: 1828, seemed willing to violate the compromise, and to minded him much of a blind man, who was feeling ho open the tariff question, for the purpose, as he believed, way in the dark, and who, notwithstanding all his efforts, to use it for political purposes; whilst the chairman of was unable to advance in any direction, but remained. the Committee on Manufactures, (Mr. N.,) whom the a state of “progressive retrograde, or standing still" Senator declared to be an ardent supporter of the domi. The Senator had labored hard to give a party character nant party, was the friend of a moderate and judicious to this bill, and, in his eloquent appeals, appeared to tariff, although prepared to vote for the present bill, attempting to arouse the spirit of some dead party, the which violated the compromise. The Senator professed life of which had long since departed, leaving only the not to understand how those who differed so much on dead carcass and the name. in a speech on another the subject of the tariff could act in harmony and concert subject, the Senator had informed us that he considered in support of the administration. He appeared to think the constitution as long since dead, but remarked that that there was a great mystery in the matter, and that he would endeavor to call up its ghost, with which ht there must have been some understanding; and that the hoped to frighten the Senators into a respect for its friends of the administration were permitted to disagree principles. Mr. N. said that on the present occasion on that question, and each one to pursue a course the best the Senator, by his eloquent incantations, appeared to salculated to aid the common cause. Mr. N. said that him to be endeavoring to call forth the ghost of nullfi. he thought the honorable Senator might have spared the cation to aid him in his perplexity; and, if he had sucto: *prise at the want of harmony in the sen. ceeded, perhaps that frightful apparition might bayo . for #. friends of the administration regarding the scated him from the position he had taken—side by side * * * * * * Would look to his own side of the House, with the ultra friends of the tariff. During this debate Reduction of the Tariff.
Feb. 24, 1837.]
(said Mr. N.) the honorable Senator, embarrassed and perplexed, and groping his way in the dark, has shifted, twisted, and turned, and wandered about from point to point, and from position to position. He had been at all points in the compass, and now seemed to be at a point not in the compass; and there he would leave him. Mr. EWING, of Ohio, here moved to adjourn. motion was lost: Yeas 10, nays 33. The question was then taken on the amendment proposed by Mr. NILEs, for a gradual reduction of the duty on foreign coal, coal screenings, and coke, and decided in the negative, as follows: YEAs--Messrs. Brown, Cuthbert, Fulton, Hubbard, King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Lyon, Niles, Page, Rives, Ruggles, Sevier, Strange, Tipton, Walker—15. NAys–Messrs. Bayard, Benton, Buchanan, Crittenden, Davis, Kent, Knight, Linn, McKean, Nicholas, Norvell, Parker, Prentiss, Robinson, Southard, T'allmadge, Wall, Webster, White, Wright——20. Mr. KENT moved to strike out the article of fancy and other soaps, Windsor soap, and washball; but the amendment did not prevail. Mr. NILES made a similar effort in regard to common tinned and japanned saddlery; but the amendment was rejected. Mr. KNIGHT moved to strike out palm-leaf brooms. Here was an article made by the poor, almost exclusively; and if gentlemen wanted to benefit the poor, here was an opportunity. Mr. PRESTON inquired what duty that article paid. Mr. WRIGHT replied 15 per cent. The amendment was rejected. Mr. KNIGHT moved to strike out the article of button moulds. The motion was negatived: Ayes 16, noes 19. Mr. CRITTENDEN moved to strike out “all spirits, made of vinous materials, imported into the United States.” Mr. WRIGHT explained that the object of the committee had been to reduce the revenue as far as they could with safety; and, as this article bore a protecting duty of from 53 to 85 cents, they supposed it might be reduced one half, and still be sufficiently high to protect the domestic article made from grain; in which case, withont injuring any one, the revenue might be reduced a half million of dollars. He demanded the yeas and nays; which being taken, stood as follows: YEAs--Messrs. Buchanan, Calhoun, Crittenden, Hendricks, Kent, Knight, Morris, Prentiss, Preston, Robbins, Robinson, Southard, Swift, Tipton, Tomlinson, Webster, White—17. NAYs—Messrs. Benton, Brown, Cuthbert, Fulton, Hubbard, King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Linn, Nicholas, Niles, Norvell, Page, Parker, Rives, Ruggles, Sevier, Strange, Tallmadge, Walker, Wall, Wright—21. Mr. KENT moved to strike out the article of wines. After some remarks by Messrs. NORVELL and SOUTHARD, the question was taken by yeas and nays, as follows: YEAs—Messrs. Buchanan, Crittenden, Hendricks, Kent, Knight, Morris, Robbins, Robinson, Southard, Swift, Tipton, Tomlinson—12. NAxs–Messrs. Benton, Brown, Cuthbert, Davis, Fulton, Hubbard, King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Linn, Lyon, Nicholas, Niles, Norvell, Page, Parker, Preston, Rives, Ruggles, Sevier, Strange, Tallmadge, Walker, Wall, Webster, White, Wright——26. The bill was then reported to the Senate, and all the amendments agreed to, with the exception of the follow1ng: 1. Duty on China and porcelain, earthen and stone ware. Mr. W RIGHT suggested that, as the Senate was now very thin, although it might happen that a different vote
would be obtained from what had been given in committee when the Senate was full, yet it would be better to adhere to the former vote, to avoid a reconsideration or other difficulty when the seats should be full again to. morrow. To this it was replied, that one Senator [Mr. Knight] had avowedly changed his vote, and another was present now who had not been in committee. The question on concurring with the Committee of the Whole in the amendment which struck out these arti. cles from the bill (thereby retaining the protecting duty upon them) was decided, by yeas and nays, as follows: YEAs—Messrs. Bayard, Buchanan, Crittenden, Davis, Hendricks, Kent, Linn, Nicholas, Robbins, Robinson, Southard, Swift, Tallmadge, Tipton, Tomlinson, Wall, Webster, White—18. NAYs—Messrs. Benton, Brown, Cuthbert, Fulton, Hubbard, King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Knight, Lyon, Morris, Niles, Norvell, Page, Parker, Rives, Ruggles, Sevier, Strange, Walker—19. So China and earthenware were retained in the bill, as free of duty. 2, Blankets chiefly used among the Indians. On this Mr. DAVIS demanded the yeas and nays. He objected to the amendment, as injurious to the interests of several manufactories of blankets established within the United States. Mr. BENTON, Mr. LINN, and Mr. NORVELL, explained the great difference between Indian blankets and those of a domestic manufacture, and the very decided preference which the Indians expressed for the one over the other, and which precluded all competition from our factories, with what were usually known among them as Mackinac blankets. They were thick, finely woven, and of the finest wool, and impervious to the rain. After some desultory conversation, the amendment was concurred in by the Senate: Yeas 23, nays 14. So Indian blankets were inserted in the bill, as free of duty. 3. On striking out cigars. Yeas 18, nays 16. Mr. DAVIS renewed in the Senate the motion he had made in Committee of the Whole, to strike from the bill olive oil, and demanded the yeas and nays. Mr. WEBSTER advocated the amendment to take off the duty on this article. While it would afford but a very trifling relief in point of revenue, it went to interfere with the great whaling interest, which it was so important to cherish. Mr. NORVELL also supported the motion; and the question being taken, it was carried, as follows: YEAs—Messrs. Bayard, Buchanan, Crittenden, Davis, Hendricks, Kent, Knight, Linn, Nicholas, Norvell, Robbins, Robinson, Southard, Swift, Tallmadge, Tipton, Tomlinson, Webster, White—19. NAxs—Messrs. Benton, Brown, Cuthbert Fulton, Hubbard, King of Alabama, King of Georgia, I.yon, Niles, Page, Parker, Rives, Ruggles, Sevier, Strange, Walker, Wall—17. Mr. KENT moved to strike out sulphate of quinine and calomel, but the amendment was rejected; when the question was at length obtained, and the bill was ordered to be engrossed for its third reading by the fol. lowing vote: YEAs–Messrs. Benton, Brown, Cuthbert, Fulton, Hubbard, King of Alabama, King of Georgia, Linn, Lyon, Nicholas, Niles, Norvell, Page, Parker, Rives, Ruggles, Sevier, Strange, Tallmadge, Walker, Web. ster, White, Wright—23. Nays—Messrs. Buchanan, Crittenden, Davis, Hendricks, Kent, Robbins, Robinson, Southard, swift, tipton, Wall—11. And then the Senate adjourned.
Amendment agreed to: SENATE.]
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25.
Mr. TALLMADGE presented the credentials of the Hon. Silas W night, re-elected a Senator of the United states, from the State of New York, for six years from and after the 3d of March next.
LAND LAWS AND DECISIONS. the following resolutions were offered by Mr. W EB. STF R: Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury cause to be prepared a collection of the instructions which have been issued from time to time, either by the Secretary of the Treasury or the Commissioner of the Land Office, excepting only such as refer exclusively, both in principle and application, to particular or individual cases, together with the official opinions of the Attorney General on questions arising under the land laws. Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate cause the general public acts of Congress respecting the sale and disposition of the public lands, together with the instructions and opinions mentioned in the foregoing resolution, to be printed for the use of the Senate. In offering these resolutions, Mr. W.E.B.S 1 ER said it was his object that the general acts, the instructions giv. en under them, and the official opinions of the Attorney General on questions arising in the administration of these laws, should be collected and published, and made available to all. These instructions and opinions are in manuscript. They are only known at the Land Office, and may govern questions arising there without any means, on the part of those interested, to possess themselves fully of their character and contents. The laws, although contained in the two volumes commonly called the volumes of the Land Laws, were yet mixed up with such a mass of treaties, ordinances, and private acts. that it is not always easy to bring them together, or to get a connected view of their provisions. The subject was getting to be very important. Interfering claims were constantly arising, especially under pre-emption acts; and it was understood that an appeal, in these cases, lay to the Commissioner or to the so cre. tary of the Treasury. The Land Office was thus becoming an important judicature; and it was essential that its course and its rules of proceeding should be known. Interesting rights were decided by it, and it became Congress to look into its proceedings, and to see that the laws were openly, fairly, and ably executed. The first step to reach this end was to make public, in some accessible form, the instructions and opinions under which the land officers acted. Any further provisions to insure a proper administration could then be adopted,
which, Congress should judge necessary, is, indeed, any should be thought necessary.
The resolutions were agreed to.
REDUCTION OF THE TARIFF.
The bill to alter and amend the several acts imposing duties on imports (for reducing the duties) came up on its third reading and final passage.
Mr. SOUTHARD, having called for the yeas and nays on the question, proceeded at some length in opposition to the bill, and especially those portions of it which asfected the arrangement of the compromise act of 1833, urging that the duty on sugar ought as much to be re. pealed as the duty on salt; that the bill would favor the rich far more than the Poor; and that the faith of the oy, as well as high individual interests, required that the Provisions of the compromise taris; act (so calleos § should not be violated.
*...o.o. the Senate nearly as follows: and only a few, ... ." of this bill, to submit a few, desire to have taken a o o Senate. It has been my
"We part than I have done
Land Laws and Decisions—Reduction of the Tariff.
[FEB. 25, 1837.
in the discussions it has occasioned; but, feeling myself worn down by perpetual sitting, and being affected, besides, by the prevailing influenza, which disables me from attending at night, on account of the state of atmosphere produced by the multitude of lights in the chamber, I have been constrained to sit silent until now. The question I understand to be on the passage of the bill. In regard to many, and, indeed, to most of the articles it enumerates, I have no objection to the repeal of duties proposed; and had it contemplated the action of the Senate on those articles only, it would have received as hearty a concurrence from me as from any of its most zealous supporters. But, beside the items of this description, it has been deemed proper to insert various others, which cannot be touched without a violation of the compromise law of 1833. If the question turned on this bill alone, much as I regret the probability of its passage, my regret would be less but for the declarations which have been openly made by the chairman of the Committee on Finance, [Mr. WhighT,) who has told the Senate that he considers himself as much at liberty to look into the list of articles protected by a duty above 20 per cent. as among those below that rate, to find proper objects for the reduction of the revenue. Ile feels on this subject no restraint, no obligation whatever, stom what is supposed to be the pledged faith of the country to the compromise act. A declaration like this, coming from so high a source, has great weight. But, whatever may be its intrinsic importance, it does not stand alone. Another Senator, the chairman of one of the standing committees of the Senate, whose absence at this moment I regret, because I wish to report his words correctly, a gentleman than whom none is more favorable to Southern interests, and whose sagacity and influence have produced a great effect within his own State, has avowed it as his settled aim, not suddenly, but gradually and surely, to eradicate every vestige of the protective system from our national code. From another quarter, (to which I am compelled to refer) wo find an analogous declaration—nay, one which goes still further; for the Senator proclaimed that he never had felt, does not now feel, and never will feel himself bound, in the slightest degree, by the act of 1833; but, on the contrary, is at entire and perfect liberty to reduce or augment the duties of our tariff, as he may judge expedient. When I see a measure like that before us, accompanied by such declarations from members of unbounded influence on this floor, I cannot doubt that it is the purpose of the administration to strike every vestige of the protective system from the statute book: . The present signal prosperity of our country is attributable to two causes: the success of the cotton interest at the South, and of manufactures in the Northern and Middle States. These interests are intimately blended. If the manufacturing interest at the North could be an: nihilated, there would be a destruction of the demand for three hundred and fifty thousand bales of the cotton of the South; and if that quantity were thrown upon the foreign market, the inevitable effect would be a ruinous reduction in the price of that staple. As to the policy which has produced this state of prosperity, my convictions have been long since formed, and still remain un: shaken. When I look at the diversified interests and pursuits of our people, and the impossibility of the iargest portion of them supplying themselves with foreign articles of manufacture, for want of those necessary ex: changes which alone can bring them into the country, it has always appeared to me, and still does appear, neces: sary to protect the industry of our own country. But the best friends of the protective policy never intended that that policy should 'be perpetual, though the ao establishing it were unlimited in point of time. All who advocated the system went upon the ground that, after